SEXTING or SEXT is a thing done by most people, adults and children alike and yes, don’t be surprised if your Black Boy (pre or teenager) is already at it. Did I just hear you ask what the heck is SEXTING and more importantly how this could affect our children’s future?
What Is Sexting?
The most simple way I can think of it is this…If you are sending and receiving ‘nudes’ or naked pictures, underwear pics, dirty pictures of a sexual nature or indeed texting messages or videos along these lines then you are engaged in SEXTING.
Messages of this kind is traded typically between friends (boyfriend, girlfriend) or a stranger met online. Things can go wrong so quickly beyond one’s control once a message has been sent. Before we get into what can go wrong and why, I feel it is important you know what the law says about SEXTING in particular the creating and sharing explicit images, if as parents we are to protect our boys (girls too) from falling short of the law and keeping intact their self value and esteem.
There are numerous laws in the United Kingdom to protect the young person as well as some to make certain that young people also take responsibility for their actions.
Whilst SEXTING can be seen by most as harmless, the creating and sharing or ‘trading’ explicit images of a child (a young person under 18 years) is illegal, even if it is a child doing so. Your under aged son is or will be breaking the law if they take, share or download/upload naked pics of themselves or others under the age of 18 years i.e. topless girl, contains genitals or sex acts, including masturbation even with their or the other person’s consent. The police as from January 2016 can choose to record this as a committed crime but would not be taking a formal action unless it is in the public interest.
Why SEXTING Isn’t Cool
Besides falling short of the law as mentioned above why should young people refrain from SEXTING? Even for adults one doesn’t need to look far to note how peoples’ lives have been affected and sometimes even ruined from SEXTING that has gone wrong, fallen in the wrong hands or an ex partner deliberately circulating and sharing texts and images via social media. Did you miss the 10 such cases linked above? You don’t want to do that, go back and have a read as it gives you a perspective on the subject at hand.
Many reasons why SEXTING is not cool but I pick this two (feel free to add yours):
- once a text or photo is sent one has no control whatsoever on how it’s passed on
- images become public material once shared or stored, even if deleted, you don’t know how many more shared
- It can be used to Blackmail, Bully, create Unwanted attention and even cause Emotional distress.
You will agree with me it is not worth it. The bottom line is, if you (adult or child) cannot show such texts or images to your parents then well you mustn’t send it, period.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Would you rather talk the talk about SEXTING with your son (or daughter) after the deed is done and their self image is in tartars, or like most things when it comes to raising our Black Boys right you will take the opportunity to educate?
No well meaning parent want to see their child in pain, humiliated or on the verge of breaking the law so I suggest you have that conversation NOW if you haven’t already.
Perhaps you are thinking my child is sensible and would not do such nasties, but maybe I should remind you why even the most sensible child could easily do this. Here… 1. young people like to join in because they feel or think ‘everyone else is doing it’ and don’t want to be left out or the odd one out, 2. they assume such unimaginable acts boosts their self-esteem, 3. testing their sexual identity by flirting with others or exploring sexual feelings and 4. are forced to be involved because they couldn’t say ‘No’ to somebody asking them.
What To Talk About
Hmmm…it would be wrong to be prescriptive here as every child is different and your approach would largely be dependent on your relationship with them. Whatever you do though don’t go accusing them of SEXTING otherwise I promise you will not go far.
Almost all children now own a mobile phone and of course this electronic entrapment makes it so easy in perpetuating the very subject we are discussing here. The good news is, I am yet to come across a younger person who foots the bills for their phone. I know this because I am the ‘Bank of Dad’ for my two younger boys (16 and 14) and their phones don’t come cheap.
So, for starters you as the bill payer has some leverage for outlining your expectations and to explain the rules of having an electronic device, be it a tablet, iPad or a smartphone. Have a dialogue on what is acceptable or otherwise to share with friends and others including strangers. Talk about the importance of not forwarding such messages to others should they receive one and the dangers and consequences including the law when SEXTING go wrong.
Last but by no means not the least I would explain why no one and I mean no one has the right to make them feel uncomfortable by asking them to do what they don’t want to do or indeed they doing this to another person.
If you have any other gems of advice to help others tackle this subject of SEXTING amongst young children please mention these in your comments below, thank you.