How to talk to junior about sexting

Talking about this worrying trend will keep junior safe online. Get expert help to broach the embarrassing subject…

Kids-How-to-talk-to-junior-about-sexting-MAIN

With many social media platforms encouraging users to post videos of themselves to gain followers or widen their social circle, sexting has become an inevitable result in recent years.

Sexting involves sending explicit text messages and nude photos to friends and sometimes total strangers. Notes Joy Ong, a senior counsellor and play therapist, “Over the past years, as more youths socialise via the Internet and online apps, we’re observing a rise in youths who try sexting.”

While reported cases of sexting involving Singaporean youths aren’t as common as in the US or UK, Shem Yao, a senior TOUCH Cyber Wellness coach, points out, “We shouldn’t assume that our children aren’t engaging in some of these behaviours.” 

“We shouldn’t assume that our children aren’t engaging in some of these behaviours.”

Yao adds that the issue’s sensitivity is probably one of the reasons why sexting-related cases are under reported. Victims of sexting cases often feel anxious, ashamed and depressed once they are outed and often suffer cyberbullying, too. They also risk being ostracised and having their lewd images reposted everywhere.

So, to ensure your child doesn’t suffer such an unnecessary and ugly fate, you must talk to junior about sexting. Make sure you talk to both your daughter and son as boys are just as likely as girls to be engaged in these behaviours. Follow these expert-approved suggestions when broaching the subject:

1) Ask them what they know about sexting

If you think that broaching the subject directly with junior is awkward and embarrassing, then refer to a news-related story instead. Ask them if they have read it and what their thoughts are on the topic. It’ll give you insights on how to change their perception of sexting.

Alternatively, Ong suggests starting the conversation with general but related topics like cyber safety and asking junior how they keep themselves safe online. “This provides a natural flow to the conversation and also allows the parents to assess their child’s knowledge and awareness of cyber safety.”