Sexting may be a new term for many adults, but not for young teens and even children. In fact, sexting is one of the fastest growing trends among underage teens today.
What is “Sexting” exactly?
Sexting is the exchange of sexual content in the form of text, images and even videos through smart devices, phones, computers or any other internet based platforms. Experts blame sexting for the increase in child pornography on internet in the last few years. According to one research, 11% of teenage girls between 13 to 16 years send their nude pictures to friends or boyfriends out of which many ended up on internet. In some cases, sender of their own nude images is even younger than 13 years old. According to a BBC report, children as young as 10 years old have, at some point, sent explicit photos on mobile devices and social media platforms.
Many teens are not mature enough to understand the severity of the situation when sexting. When content are sent to someone else, people lose control over them. Many young teens have been blackmailed using these type of content, their personal nude images are posted on the internet without their consent. According to one research, 17% of the sexting recipients claimed that they forwarded the sexual content to others. Today, almost 80% of the teens use smart devices but 90% of them are unsupervised by their parents. This void ultimately results to sexting in the absence of any Content Filter or other parental controls tool.
In a recent report published by Daily Telegraph, it was reported that sexting and social media are the genesis in the rise of child pornography offences in the last few years. The greater factor however is the absence of direct supervision by parents and the use of parental controls tools such as content filter software that are now readily available for download. A most alarming situation is unawareness among teens that by sexting, they are committing a federal crime in the form of child pornography. It is good to remember that possession, distribution and production of pornographic materials are against the law.
An overwhelming majority of young teens don’t know that sexting is against the law and can even end them up in jail in some states. According to the executive director of National Center for Missing & Exploited children, John Sheehan, out of 130 million child pornography images examined by the organization, one fourth are produced by the minors themselves. According to a survey conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy last year, 40% of teen students claim that they have sent or received nude or semi nude images of themselves.
The statistics relevant to sexting is more than alarming. It is high time for parents to make use of parental controls on the devices used by their children. Parents need to act today to protect their kids from serious consequences of sexting. In one recent case, a 12 year old girl in UK was raped by her online friend from India, a 38 year old sexual predator who flew to UK to meet her, and in the end raped her. The case is currently under trial in court.
Educate your kids about sexting and make use of content filter tools on all devices used by your children. Take responsibility and act now! IMLOCk for windows and Comvigo Android Filter allows parents to filter content and keep an eye on their child’s online activities.