Before the epidemic became as complicated as it is now, up to 40% of children received and/or sent sexually explicit images/videos only at the age of 13.
Also, according to a survey of nearly 4,000 children between the ages of 8 to 13 found that 43% of children are talking to strangers online, with a third of them talking to strangers every day or at least once a week.
It’s absolutely not fine for your child to be pressured to send nudes. It can make your child feel uncomfortable or even unsafe. Whether it’s a boyfriend, girlfriend, friend, or stranger, even if they say sexting or sending nudes will show how much they love them, your child needs to understand that what truly important Is that they just do what you really want to do and feel satisfied.
This article will help you understand how to minimize the risks of my kid is sending nudes, especially during social distancing when we all get so bored at home.
Why my kid is sending nudes (especially during social distancing)?
Social distancing makes it difficult for all relationships. This also applies to your child’s romantic relationships. While your teen may think that sending nudes or sexting is a way to show intimacy while being stuck at home, there are quite a few (negative) motivations behind this behavior, which consist of:
- Loss of control over the spread of sensitive photos/videos, even in trusted relationships.
- Peer pressure: when your child doesn’t send pornographic images or videos, they will be seen as old-fashioned and rigid, and not cool enough.
- The urge to do something “fun and new”: Frequently staying at home makes children easily feel bored and motivated to do something new, leading to many children thinking that sexting is one of the “interesting” behavior to do during the COVID epidemic.
- Time spent on social networks increases: Proportional to the time spent on the phone, the amount of time that children spend on social networks is constantly increasing. Teenagers now spend up to 9 hours a day on social platforms and that continues to increase dramatically especially during times of social distancing.
As time on social media increases, children are more exposed to unhealthy content (like content that promotes sexting from Vogue and Snapchat), online attackers, and more.
How to minimize the risks of my kid is sending nudes?
Teach your child how to confidently say “No”
You should let your child understand what respectful and healthy relationships are. Don’t forget to show your child that it’s fundamental in a healthy relationship to respect the other person’s decision, not to force the other person to do what he/she doesn’t want or is unhappy with.
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Besides, you also need to boost your child’s confidence and know how to say “No” to requests that make him/her uncomfortable and unhappy. Let your child know that he/she doesn’t have to give in to peer pressure or depressed feelings to send nudes, intimate images/videos just because someone else does or because a boyfriend or girlfriend asked them to do the same.
It’s a good idea to talk to your child about how to stay connected with friends and loved ones in safe and age-appropriate ways.
Analyze and openly talk about risks involved
Remind your child that once an image is shared, it will live forever online and they will have no control over how these images are distributed more widely. There have been many cases where, after being leaked sensitive photos on social networks, these minors have to suffer severe psychological consequences of the fear of being discovered by others in real life. These psychological consequences last for many years, significantly affecting their children’s learning and building friendships.
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There’s nothing worth saying about your child’s relationship with your partner going well. However, if your child and the other person broke up for a kind of, bad reason, in anger, the partner your child has been dating can send some sensitive photos of your child (which he or she have voluntarily sent to the other one) to a group of their friends.
Or even worse, they will publish photos to websites, Facebook groups, SnapChat, WhatsApp, etc. where maybe even adults are watching. And since then, the digital footprint permanently perpetuates the existence of these images/videos on the Internet.
Being raped in real life
Research shows that teen sexting often leads to forced sex in real life, leaving many teenagers physically and emotionally vulnerable.
Online predators use social media platforms, communities, and group chats to disguise as children their own age, entice them to send them sexually explicit images/videos, which they can then distribute and/or use to blackmail the child, worse than harming the child in real life or kidnapping for ransom.
Teach your children how to respond when forced to send nudes
Ask them to stop
You need to let your child understand that sometimes in relationships, the other person asks for things without thinking about the other person. If someone is pressuring you about this and thinks that it’s only when you send sensitive pictures that you show how much you love them, you need to be upfront and ask them to stop this because it’s embarrassing and it makes you feel uncomfortable.
This may not always work, but sometimes just let them know they’re bothering your child and they’ll reevaluate their actions.
Send something else
Your child needs to understand that your child is always entitled to say “No” if they are forced to do something they do not want to do and are not satisfied with. However, we shouldn’t always be so tough and direct, instead, your child can send something else, like a meme or a joke like sending 🍜 (noodles) – noods – homonym for nudes – nudity). A tactful and flexible way of refusing.
Report and block
If the steps above do not positively change your partner’s behavior, stop communicating with them. Instead, you should:
- Take a screenshot of the request.
- Report the person’s account to the social networking service or app they use to contact your child.
- Block them so they can’t contact you again through that app or social networking service.
- If they contact your child via text message, block their phone number from their device.
What should parents do when sensitive pictures of their children are shared online?
- Be calm and open: The first thing you need to do is not get angry, because only when you are calm can you handle the problem wisely. This also applies to when “I Caught My Teen Sexting“. Reassure your child that everything will be okay and you will get through this with your child. Don’t scold your child because doing this doesn’t solve the problem, and makes your child wary and unwilling to share with you in the future.
- Listen and act quickly: There can be legal problems when intimate pictures of children are shared. Act quickly to remove online content by reporting images to the website or service where your child’s images were posted on that platform.
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