Dr. Tracy Bennett, a psychologist that specializes in internet safety for kids, published two companion articles discussing the teen and tween sexting phenomenon. These articles, titled “Hey Dad, Your Twelve Year Old Daughter Has a ‘Nude Out'” and “Mom, Your Fifteen Year Old Boy Might Be Acting Like an Internet Predator” provide parents with insight into this trend and what they can do to discourage their kids from getting involved. Dr. Bennett also explains how teens’ brain development factors into the equation.
Among other tips, Dr. Bennett encourages parents to cover the following points:
- “People are far more than a body part. Behind every text, image, and idea is a human being with thoughts, feelings, and value. Treating yourself or others as an object instead of a person is demeaning.”
- “Screen media is a powerful tool. Once your hit ‘send,’ that text, image, or video can never be taken back. Consider if it would be OK to show it on the screen in a school assembly before you send it to anybody. And parents, if you need help don’t hesitate to reach out to the school administration or the police. They are well versed in these issues and have specially-trained personnel. It’s rarely a good idea to approach the other children involved or their parents for that matter.”
- “Save private interactions for face-to-face relationships. If it’s on screen media, it’s unlikely to stay private.”
- “Collecting ‘likes’ is not love. Sometimes it’s even the opposite.
Represent yourself online just as you would offline. Character matters.”
Note: Clean Router may block one or both of these articles. While they discuss mature themes such as sexting, sexuality, bullying, and sexual predators, the articles contain no explicit content.
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