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Sexting is dumb, dangerous.....and illegal

11 July
Posted by:
Michael Grose

From any way you look at it, the sending of naked photographs of yourself to others via mobile phone or the Internet is about as dumb as you can get.

Better known as sexting this practice is becoming common place among teenagers.

As reported in The Age (Scourge of the Schoolyard – 10th July 2011) yesterday it’s a misnomer to think that girls only send revealing pictures of themselves under duress from boys. Many girls do so of their own accord.

Boys also send revealing photos of themselves, but it’s rare for these photos to go viral.

Sexting is seen as a flirty practice, or a bit of fun, by many girls.

It’s not just slutty girls who sext, the article reported. Often it’s the girl least likely who sends a revealing picture on a whim, and it suddenly goes viral and is circulated around schools, peers groups and even sports clubs.

Kids often just can’t see the risks involved in sexting. What may have been a good idea at the time can ruin a reputation in an instant. Such is the nature of the cyberspace. Once the genie is out the bottle it can’t be put back!

According to Nina Funnell, who runs workshops for teenagers, most parents of teenagers just don’t understand the impact of social media.

Admittedly, many teenagers go to great lengths to conceal their behaviours. It’s not uncommon for teenagers to have two mobile phones and two Facebook accounts. One for their parents’ benefit and one to use with their peers.

As a parent of a teenager, it’s imperative that you don’t put your hand in the sand when it comes to social media. Better to find out what it’s all about, so you have some idea of its reach, and also its associated risks such as sexting.

Over the last few years there’s been a lot of talk about cyber safety. That is, how can we keep kids safe from online predators and bullies?

It’s time for the focus needs to shift to raising kids who are cyber smart. That is, how can kids protect their reputations as well as their identities when they operate in the vast online expanses?

There’s no doubt the time to develop cyber-smarts is when kids are in primary school. They are more malleable and more willing to take adult ideas on board.

Perversely, many 15 year olds do things that 10 year olds think are just plain dumb. So may as well start developing cyber smarts when kids are at their most receptive and least likely to take senseless risks. With some luck some of the smarts they learn may stick and become second nature when they move into the high risk time of adolescence.

What do you do to develop cyber smarts in your kids?
  • bullying
  • cyber
  • safety
  • sexting
  • smart
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