Over 20% of teens have used their cell phones to send nude or semi-nude photos over the internet.
Sexting: When people take and send sexually revealing pictures of themselves or send sexually explicit messages via the Internet or text messages.
Children "sext" to entice, show off, show interest, or to prove commitment. Sending seductive messages and/or pictures are problematic, but the biggest issue is the sharing of this content. When revealing photos are made public, this can be humiliating. There are legal consequences for sending sexual images of minors, and some states are prosecuting children for exchanging nude pictures of children.
Texas Penal Code
Since Texas Senate Bill 407 passed in 2011, the legal consequences regarding sexting have been expanded in Texas. Therefore, it is extremely important for everyone - especially minors - to become aware of the penalties that can come from being convicted or adjudicated of sexting. If a minor who is not a child is found guilty of the offense of sexting, penalties range from a fine (not to exceed $500) to up to one year in jail. If an individual is convicted of the felony offense of possession or promotion of child pornography, penalties range from 2 to 20 years in prison.
- Don't wait for an incident to happen before you talk with your child about the consequences of sexting.
- Remind teens that once an image is sent, it can never be retrieved, and they lose control of it. Ask them how they would feel if their teachers, parents, or even the entire school saw the picture.
- Talk about pressures to send revealing photos. Let teens know that you understand how they can be pushed or dared into sending something. Tell them that no matter how strong the social pressure to sext, the potential social humiliation can be hundreds of times worse.
- Teach students that the buck stops with them. If someone sends them a photo, they should delete it immediately. It is better to be part of the solution than the problem. Besides, if they do send it on, they're distributing pornography — and that's against the law.