The Problem of Teen Sexting & What Parents Can Do

Technology has come with a lot of good: communication across oceans, easier access to information, and higher form of interconnectedness the world has never seen before. These aren’t just pros, though–they have their downsides. One of those downsides has been the rise of teen sexting.

On average, kids have a cell phone before they turn 11–and oftentimes it’s a smartphone fully connected to the internet. There is a serious lack of communication and supervision on the part of parents–to fix this issue, we have to address it.

While early sexual activity is decreasing, digital sexual activity is increasing

The rate of early sexual activity has decreased over the past decade, but digital sexual activity (aka teen sexting) has increased substantially. A recent study that looked at data of more than 110,000 students, ages 11 to 17, found some shocking results:

  • Nearly 15 percent had sent sexts
  • Over 27 percent had received sexts
  • 12 percent had forwarded a sext without consent
  • More than 8 percent had had a sext they sent forwarded to others without consent

Those are scary numbers–but it also reflects the curious nature of adolescents when it comes to nudity and sexuality. The internet has largely enabled this curiosity and parents have to take some responsibility for lack of supervision.

With the technological world rapidly changing, it’s been hard for parents to find a happy medium between too much supervision and too little. Too much and your teen will lash out and possibly do something even riskier than sexting. Too little and your teen may be sending unsavory pictures all over the internet.

Opening a dialogue about teen sexting is essential

It’s important to remember that teenagers make mistakes–it’s what they do and it’s what they’re supposed to do. Talking to your teen about sexting in a non-doomsday way has been shown to really make an impact on whether they do it or not.

Addressing this issue before your teen thinks about doing it themselves can help prevent the act itself. Open the dialogue by acknowledging that it’s a common thing, but that it can have serious consequences. No, it may not ruin your life–but once a picture is sent, it’s out in the world and it’s out of your control. Let your teen know that if they ever feel pressured or uncomfortable, you’re always there for support and help.

If you believe your child is truly struggling with teen sexting or other issues, it’s critical to reach out to a professional for further guidance.  

Elevations can help your family

Elevations RTC is a residential treatment center for teens, ages 13 to 18. Our students often grapple with anxiety, trauma, depression, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral teen mental health issues.

As one of the leading residential treatment schools for struggling teens, we use a combination of a focused therapeutic lens, real-world environment, secure setting, and caring staff to foster growth and success in our students. Finding the right program can be difficult for a family, which is why Elevations is here to help guide you through it.

For more information about how we deal with the issue of teen sexting at Elevations RTC, please call .