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Sexting joins the Birds and the Bees

Technology Improves, Sexting Increases, and Parents Worry

Sexting ranks higher on the parental concerns list than ever before.

Along with the wonders of advancing technology comes parental concerns. Following childhood obesity, bullying, and drug abuse, sexting is the fourth biggest concern parents have for their children in the United States.

As technology has grown, so have the worries. This growth in technology calls for parents to be more aware of their child’s activities.

Is your child sexting? How do you know?

To ensure that your child is not engaging in sexting, talk to them about it, set boundaries, and monitor their phone and social media usage.

Talk About It

Rules

Communicate the family rules and values.

Open communication with your child shows that you care about them, and the decisions made are in their best interest. It also provides opportunities for your son/daughter to talk to you about things that may be bothering them or harmful activities they may be feeling pressured to do.

Discuss your family values and rules, the reasons behind them, and how to react when a situation arises. Children are less likely to engage in bad behavior when they know their parents don’t approve. Your opinion matters to them, even if they don’t show it.

Set Boundaries

Put off giving your child a smartphone for as long as you can, even make a family rule that they cannot have one until they reach a certain age.
When they get a smartphone, set restrictions on it, such as:
• How many hours a day.
• Times of the day they’re allowed to use their phone.
• Places they can use their phone.
As your child gets older, give them more responsibility and freedom while still monitoring their activities.

Monitor Activities

Install Accountable 2 You on their devices so you can be accountable to each other. Have access to your child’s social media accounts and be aware of the multiple means of social media, like:

Social media

Be aware of your child’s social media and app use.

• Snapchat
• Facebook
• Instagram
• Twitter
• Tumblr
• LinkedIn
• What’s app
• Flicker
• Pinterest
• YouTube
• Google+
• Periscope
• Tinder
and more… the list can go on and on, discuss what apps they use on their phone.
Monitor their social media, messaging, photos, videos and texts for inappropriate material. Check to see if they have multiple accounts, make sure they’re not hiding anything from you.

Most Importantly

Above all, make sure your child knows that you love them and are looking out for their best interest. Trust them, but show great concern and continue to have open communication about their phone and social media usage.
Be involved in their lives, showing that you love them and are interested in them while allowing them enough space to be their person. Technology has benefits and drawbacks, requiring some extra parenting that wasn’t needed not too long ago. It is up to you to make sure it has more benefits than drawbacks in your home.

Family Counseling, Teen Counseling • YES Clinics, American Fork, Ut- 801.901.0279