One of the toughest pieces of advice that we give to parents is that they need to talk to their kids about sexting before they think they should. It’s tough advice to give because no parent want to think that their 8, 9 or 10 year old would be willing to send provocative photos to anyone.
We understand that almost no 8-year olds are in a romantic relationship. We get that most 8-year olds would never dream of sending a provocative photo. But, many 8-year olds have a smartphone, so they have the means to do it if they are so inclined.
If you’ve given your child a smartphone or other internet connected device, the onus is on you to warn your child, early and often, of the pitfalls associated with sexting.
A study out of BBC in the UK last week used data from Freedom of Information requests to look at all revenge porn cases filed between April and December of 2015, and the results were shocking.
- During the 8 month period, 1,160 revenge porn cases were reported
- In 30% of cases, the victim was a minor under 19 years old
- In 3 of the cases, the victim was 11 years old
- 11% of charges resulted in criminal charges
- Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, Twitter and messaging app WhatsApp, in that order, were the most frequently used networks for posting revenge porn
Since only 11% of the cases resulted in prosecution, and there is no information on how many cases are never reported, this is obviously a big issue, and one that can involve younger kids.
It is awkward and uncomfortable to introduce the topic of sexting and its consequences to kids who haven’t even considered it, but it’s a good idea to do it before it becomes a problem. In fact, it’s your responsibility.
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