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Open letters from parents to teenagers on Sexting

girls texting


By Jean, a single parent to two teenage girls

Dear girls,

So, sexting. It's not something I ever imagined we'd have to talk about, mainly because it didn't even exist until a few years ago.

We've had plenty of conversations about sex over the years, and now you're both teenagers I never shy away from talking to you about alcohol and using drugs, but this is a new one and
although you're probably cringing right now the fact it exists means we need to talk about it.

The biggest problem with sexting is the lack of control on your part. Once you send an explicit photo or video to someone, as soon as you press "send" you have handed over control to whoever receives it. Think that's not a problem because he's someone you trust? Maybe now, yes, but what about when you are no longer a couple/friends and he decides to share your photo?

Before long everyone you know (and plenty that you don't) will have seen that image, the one that was meant for one person's eyes only, and there's not a thing you can do about it. Once it's out there in the ether you can kiss goodbye to any control over who sees it. Pretty yucky, eh?

And just in case you're wondering, if you did get caught sexting, of course I'd be disappointed. Not because it would be embarrassing for me, although of course it would be. No, I'd be more upset about your lack of self-respect. Do you respect yourself enough not to be pressured or emotionally blackmailed into something like this? I think you do.

Think about it this way - before you send an intimate message or photo to anyone ask yourself if you would post it on your own Facebook wall. No? Then don't send it to anyone. End of.

Jean

By Tim Atkinson
Dear son,

This isn't an easy letter to write but it might just be one of the most important you read, so please read on. And I know what you're thinking - here goes dad spoiling the fun, being boring, not understanding anything.

But the thing is, I do. I understand what goes on and I understand why it happens, too. And I know a little of the consequences - enough to know that it isn't always just "fun". These things stick around. And in a few years from now, the things you say, the pictures you post, the texts and tweets and updates… well, they could all come crashing down around your head.

But dad, you're saying - it's harmless, it's a laugh, everyone does it.

Well just because everyone does, it doesn't make it right. And it might be a laugh now, but people change, relationships change. What's said can't be unsaid and if it's in writing then it's potential dynamite.

And it isn't always harmless. Anything but. What's done in the heat of the moment or the height of passion can be potentially devastating in the morning. And remember - these things have a habit of sticking around.

So before you dismiss it as harmful 'banter' just remember:

*Other people will see or read it. It's almost inevitable. Can you deal with that?

*It might come back to haunt you later. Friends can become enemies. Don't leave them with any powerful weapons to use against you.

*And finally - respect the person you're with. And ask yourself whether what you're saying or what you're doing shows that.

Simple rules but I think they'll make things a lot less complicated for you down the line.

Love,

Dad







Source: Hugos Media Blog


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