Anyone who watches Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is already paranoid about parenting in today's modern times. With advancing technology and on-the-go communication, it has become more difficult to shield our children from harm. As if our jobs aren't hard enough, you might want to keep better tabs on what your child does with his or her cell phone.
Growing up, it was inconceivable for me to have a smartphone. For starters, they weren't around during my time, and more importantly, I was just a child. Even with a police officer for a father, I, like many of you, relied on my landline in the event I had to speak with one of my parents.
Times have certainly changed as many children in elementary and middle school now have their own cell phones. While it's a great way for parents to check in on their children throughout the day, there needs to be a serious conversation about safety and appropriate forms of communication.
The Daily Mail reveals children as young as 10 years old are sending explicit images of themselves through text messages. It appears the recipients of these sexting practices have been classmates — though some fear greater numbers due to social media outlets like Instagram and Snapchat.
I can't imagine my child sending images of his private parts to anyone and thinking it's OK. Heck, I don't even do that with my husband! Call me a prude, but things are so permanent these days — especially when it comes to the internet. As "cool" as it is to post selfies and share your life story, not too many people realize what you send out you sometimes can't get back.
Aside from young children feeling the need to send sexual images to each other, explicit photos of minors is a pretty serious crime. The last thing we need as parents are authorities questioning our children about their motives and having the photos in question fall into the wrong hands. There are too many perverts out here who try their best to cloak themselves as Mister Rogers.
I'd like to think that sexting isn't a common practice among children this young, but the truth of the matter is, it's wrong regardless if they're in elementary or high school. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly urges parents to speak to their kids about social media and appropriate communication. Yes, it might be awkward to straight up ask questions, but we have to try.
What would you do if you found out your child was sexting?
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