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Today's teens are always connected. They live out their lives online and in the public eye. They share photos on Instagram, tweet live from concerts, and message their friends instead of calling. However, sometimes teens don't make wise choices about what they're posting, sharing, or texting. Unfortunately, one impulsive decision can affect their lives for years to come. To some teens, sending sexually-explicit content is a normal way to interact with their peers.
Although statistics on sexting varies, a report in the June edition of JAMA Pediatrics revealed that at least one in seven teens engages in sexting. Yet many teens don't realize that sexting has serious consequences. A Drexel University study found that the majority of teens aren't aware of the legal ramifications of underage sexting. Here are six major dangers of sexting. Be sure your teen knows the risks. When nude pictures or partially nude pictures involve minors, many states consider this child pornography. Although state laws vary, in some states exchanging nude photos of minors also is considered a felony—even when the photos were taken and shared are consensual.
In some cases, the teen taking or sharing the photo can be charged with disseminating child pornography. Meanwhile, the teens receiving the photo can be charged with possession of child pornography, even if they didn't request a copy of the photo. There have also been cases where teens were even charged with a crime when the photos in their possession were of themselves.
Once a sext is in cyberspace, your teen loses all control over the image. People can share it, copy it, and use it to sexually bully your teen. One example of sexual bullying is known as slut-shaming. Cyberbullies might even share the photo to embarrass and humiliate your teen. They might also use the photo to impersonate your teen. There is no way to control who sees the photo once your teen sends it. There are countless cases where a teen discovers that a private photo has been passed around and sometimes even shared online.
Once the photo is online, sexual predators may see it. This puts your teen at risk of being sexually exploited. Sometimes when teens send a nude photo during an impulsive moment, they are later at risk for being blackmailed. There have been cases where the recipient of the image threatens to shame the sender.
Many teens who receive these types of threats give in to the blackmailer's demands. Often, they are too embarrassed to ask for help and are at the mercy of the blackmailer for a long time. Sometimes teens believe that photos sent through text message,or even on Snapchat will only be able to be viewed by the recipient.
But once sent, these images are out of your teen's control. They can be shared, copied, and re-posted. Even images shared using Snapchat put a teen at risk. Teens have learned how to copy images and save them before the app deletes them. Lives have been ruined teens post nudes photos sent via Snapchat. Sending sexually-explicit messages to another person is never a good idea, no matter how serious the relationship. Photos like these can potentially damage or destroy reputations. For instance, the person receiving the photos might brag about them and show them to other people. Or they might share them after the two of them break up.
This can be humiliating and embarrassing. It also could lead to bullying, slut-shaming, and name-calling. People may form opinions about your teen just by seeing the photos. Educate your teens on the legal and emotional consequences of sexting. By teaching them about the risks involved, you may deter them from engaging in the behavior at all. Get expert tips to help your kids stay healthy and happy.
Mori, Camille, et al. Association of sexting with sexual behaviors and mental health among adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatrics. Drexel University. Majority of minors engage in sexting, unaware of harsh legal consequences.
Published June 18, Cyberbullying Research Center. Sexting laws across America. Strohmaier, H. Youth sexting: prevalence rates, driving motivations, and the deterrent effect of legal consequences. Sex Res Soc Policy. Your Privacy Rights. To change or withdraw your consent choices for VerywellFamily. At any time, you can update your settings through the "EU Teens post nudes link at the bottom of any. These choices will be aled globally to our partners and will not affect browsing data.
We and our partners process data to: Actively scan device characteristics for identification. I Accept Show Purposes. Table of Contents View All. Table of Contents. It Constitutes Child Pornography. It Can Involve Bullying. It Exposes You to Sexual Predators. It Holds the Risk of Blackmail.
Sexts Never Go Away. There Are Reputation Consequences. Was this helpful? Thanks for teens post nudes feedback! Up. What are your concerns? Article Sources. Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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Sexting: What Parents Need to Know