Combatting Sexting & Blackmail with Teens

Sexting seems so 'out-there' to so many of us. Sending a naked picture of oneself digitally just doesn't sounds like a good idea. Yet, according to NY Times, an analysis of nearly 500 accounts from 12- to 18-year-old girls found that over two-thirds had been asked for explicit images.

Although sexting goes both ways, it often starts with the boy pressuring his girlfriend into sending him a picture of her naked. Ultimately, later on this gets used as blackmail and due to fear of the image getting spread around, the girl ends up doing things she wouldn't have done otherwise because she feels like she has no other choice.

One of the many problems is many people don’t know how to say “No” in the first place. If you don't want a naked picture of you getting into the wrong hands, don't create that opportunity. Figure out where the line is in terms of what you will and what you won't do for another person. Sending intimate pictures of oneself is never something that is required of any relationship.

Another problem is we need to teach our kids that it is NEVER okay to even request naked pictures from each other in the first place. Blackmail and threats are also NOT okay and schools need to have strict rules against that with high consequences for the instigator. Parents need to also follow suit and help teach their kids what is right and wrong.

We need to teach our teens and millennials what is acceptable in a relationship and what is not. Demanding and pressuring anything is never acceptable. A relationship should be built on trust and respect. 

Anytime you create something digitally, it is now out there to be shared and exploited. Perhaps it might be your parents who come across it or even your whole school. Don’t allow yourself to be in any image that you don’t want your Mom or Grandma to see, because even though they might not see it right now, you never know where it will end up if it falls into the wrong hands.