June 16, 2020 –  MoVi® Blogpost

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Psychologist shares tips to help parents deal with sexting

According to research by Common Sense Media, 72 percent of children ages 8 years and younger own and use Tablet PCs to browse the internet. Meanwhile, 75 percent of adolescents own and use cell phones, according to the Pew Internet Research Center.

While technology helps to keep parents and kids connected, cell phone use also exposes kids to all kinds of inappropriate messages, including sexting.

Writing in a column that appeared in Psychology Today magazine in January 2020, Dr.  Elizabeth L. Jeglic, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York (CUNY) said that “Sexting” refers to the sexually explicit message, pictures or videos that appear on cell phones or Tablet PCs. Often, sexual predators send Sexting messages to youngsters in order to gain their trust, to encourage an exchange of inappropriate images such as those containing partial nudity, or to solicit a face-to-face meeting.

What’s more, teens report feeling coerced to send naked pictures, and that according to research,  sexting can be an online extension to offline sexual coercion in adolescent relationships.

“Those who experienced sexting coercion endorsed more symptoms of anxiety, depression, and generalized trauma, and that those who experienced sexting coercion were also more likely to experience physical sexual coercion and intimate partner violence,” Jeglic wrote.

Having a sext forwarded to others without consent can result in harassment, cyberbullying, and even blackmail, she wrote.

“Subsequently, these types of behaviors can lead to depression and even thoughts of suicide among those who have been victimized,” Jeglic wrote.

But there are ways parents can prevent their kids from becoming vulnerable to sexting.

Here’s what Jeglic recommended in her column