Sexting – a note for parents

Much has been said about the benefits and pitfalls of using technology. Internet chatrooms, IM (instant messaging) over the PC, skyping, youtubing, metacafing etc. Technology has opened a whole new spectrum in the way we communicate. Nothing new about the practice of “sexting” which appeared in MyPaper today. It refers to the sending of sexually explicit text or photographs through one’s mobile phone to friends or potential suitors. This phenomenon is catching on with teenagers in Singapore when MyPaper spoke to several of them.

Student Jane Ashley, 22, admitted to participating in “sexting” when she was younger. Miss Ashley said she sent sexually explicit text messages and photographs to her boyfriend when she was 18. “I thought it would make me seem cool.”. Student Claudette van Maarschalkerweerd, 15, said that “sexting” is quite common in her all-girls school in Katong. Said the Secondary 3 student: “Kids are open about it when they’re at school or with friends, but of course they keep it from their parents.” ~ MyPaper July 15, 2008

Teenagers whom MyPaper spoke to said they have a need to feel accepted by their peers. It’s a “cool” thing to do. My friends are doing it, so I guess it’s okay. What harm can it do to me given I’m not engaging in physical sex, it’s just for fun.

Repossessing the mobile phone from your teenager may not necessarily be the best solution to prevent them from sexting. Perhaps a heart-to-heart discussion in raising awareness of the benefits of using the mobile phone as well as the pitfalls when it comes to sexting. It’s important for teens to know what’s right and what’s wrong…not what’s popular and unpopular, among their circle of friends.

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