Last year several teens in our local community got in serious trouble for sexting. These were high school age kids. Is sexting a common problem among teens? and how do you prevent it? Current studies show 20 percent of teens have sent nude or partially nude photos of themselves. That is an alarmingly high number of kids putting images out there they will likely regret in a few years. And studies also show that teens that receive these texts often share with one or two other people.
Psychosocial studies show that teens that sext also have higher impulse control issues, drink more, and battle depression. Studies that checked for ethnicity, age, gender, and parental education all concluded that sexting is strongly correlated with impulsiveness and substance abuse. “It is possible that the relationship between teen sexting and substance use is spurious, possibly due to a shared underlying variable such as poor parental monitoring or associating with delinquent peers.” (Temple, Ling 2013) With such a strong correlation what can be done to prevent young impulsive teens from making this mistake?
School counselors and parents who notice students that are struggling with impulsive behaviors can be proactive in talking to teens about the importance of guarding their social footprint, and building self esteem exercises. Better parental monitoring and encouraging good associations by getting involved in more after school sports or clubs that promote self confidence and remove the bored state where teens often get into more trouble.
2-Temple Jeff R., Temple Brian W., Ling Yan, Paul Jonathan A., Brief report: Teen sexting and psychosocial health. Journal of Adolescence, November 2013