Would you know if your child was sexting?

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    Do you check your childs phone?

    We check our teenage sons phone regularly. We take it off him every night. We take it off him after school so he is not distracted doing his homework.

    But his phone will keep on buzzing late at night while charging, which means his friends are still using their phones.

    There is a new phenomenon of teens sending ‘sexts’ to each other. Most of the time it’s girls sending pics of their midriff or in underwear or, even more worryingly, naked from waist up.

    I’ve been speaking with so many parents who’ve found such pics on their kids phones and the kids are saying it’s normal – that loads of girls do it.

    It’s not normal- especially when the girls are as young as 12 or 13!!!!

    We found a pic of a girl showing her midriff on our son’s phone. While it’s not very exposing it’s still inappropriate for a 13 year old girl to be sending.

    Please check your kids phones, we have to teach them that this is not right.

    I despair for our teens.

    Every time our 11 year old asks for a phone we have literally no problem saying no.

    The longer we can keep her away from social media the better!


    It’s terrifying…my dd is only 10 doesn’t have a phone but does have a tablet and I’m forever trying to explain that once you post something it’s out there forever…if you wouldn’t show us or her grandparents it shouldn’t be posted……she uses Skype to speak with her cousins in England ….and I check it constantly


    Its scary to think of what they are sending…

    DD is now is secondary too and I can see a big change in her phone usage – like you, we check it aswell and so far so good! But you just cannot be cautious enough.

    Our DS is now asking for a phone and at 8 he hasn’t a hope lol


    My ds is nearly 10 and asking for a phone – not a hope of him getting it.

    They both have tablets. I have used Norton Family and set house rules. They cannot install any social media apps at all. They cannot get into any gaming site(believe it not there are lots of these linked to their games]. All inappropriate is blocked – obviously that cannot be fool proof.

    Minecraft is setup so that they can play against each other with the local network – ie. in my house which has encrypted password. They have child accounts, so cannot do anything else without me setting up – which is never going to happen!!

    When mine first got their tablets – they thought it was funny to takes pictures of everything. And I mean everything. I had to delete all sorts and issue firm warnings. The novelty has worn off.

    I think with mobile phones, you loose all control. Yes, you can check every night but they can delete texts and pictures. There are also lots of apps that let you send texts and pictures foc and do not keep a record – so no way of keeping a track of that. User on the opposite end can do a screen capture and who knows what.

    There is a very interesting website that I came across a few months back, that was aimed at teens and was about staying safe online and the consequences. They had a video showing a girl and messages asking for a picture, then promises not to share, ending with the picture on the internet, the gardai involved and possible charges for child pornography. It was really well done but I cannot remember the site!!


    Allen from CA Coaching might know what site that is mammycool, we’ll ask him!

    Allen, any advice on teens and phones and how it can all go so wrong?


    I read an article a while back about the dangers of sexting. A 12 year old girl send a semi-naked pic of herself to her ‘supposed boyfriend’ who she was in the same school as.

    He, being a horrible little sod, not only shared the pic online with the other boys but he printed it out and stuck it on the noticeboard in school!!!!

    they got the police involved but the girl was so upset by it all, she ended up changing school.

    Teenagers don’t realise what can happen. And it is happening.

    My friend’s 12 year old son was sent a semi naked pic from a 12 year old girl in his class and she found it on his phone and deleted it. But it really upset her finding this.

    We need to teach our kids to respect technology and be aware of it, not abuse it like so many of them are doing.

    CA Coaching

    We are in a completely new era and, as parents, need to take this really seriously for a wide range of reasons. Obviously the most serious is our child sending/receiving inappropriate photos online. Obviously the most serious element of this is someone actually being charged with possessing/distributing child pornography (although the chances of this happening are relatively slim at the moment).

    We need to start the conversation with our children about respecting themselves/others online, as they would do in person. I’ll post an article I wrote previously in my next reply.

    There is subscription software available that you can put on your child’s device and see every message, photo, website…basically everything that takes place on the device. However this does bring up another debate that needs to be stressed. As teenagers, most of us discovered about sex from our friends/books/parents/magazines. Should our teens be allowed to discover who they are in this world, who they like, what they are interested in with a certain level of privacy. So, if you are going to put this software on your child’s device, it is worth deciding how you will deal with whatever comes to your attention, because there is a pretty good chance that you will find something you’re not happy with.

    This all comes back to communication. How we communicate with our children and how we trust them and teach them about respect. We also need to keep them safe. Social media sites have minimum ages for a reason…children’s haven’t fully developed so they may not be able to process what they see online or how they are treated online, in the same way as an adult can.

    Here is a really effective video you can show your child: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiGfpt2hjAE

    Hope this helps.

    CA Coaching

    For some parents, using the internet can be as scary as walking a tightrope across the Grand Canyon on a windy day. Some people get a complete mental block about using sites and either feel like they need to do a course or find someone to help them navigate sites…just incase they cause the computer to explode! It is very much based around a fear of the unknown. Many people didn’t get a chance to grips with the internet as it was evolving and have now almost resigned themselves to the fact that they just don’tknow how to use it and that’s that.

    Children and young people, on the other hand, embrace the internet like it’s their best friend! There is absolutely no fear factor and they feel so confident that they will accept any new popular sites and learn as they go. They delve into nearly all nooks and crannies of sites they enjoy (many of these being social media outlets), until they figure out how it works and then off they go into cyberspace to discover the world.

    Both of these attitudes have created a sense of growing distancebetween some parents and children resulting in parents relying on media outlets to inform them of the “dangerous” sites that can cause their children harm, while at the same time, almost providing a road map for young people to explore a new site they shouldn’t. Well here’s the good news parents, it doesn’t have to be like this and there are a number of really helpful sites out there that can help you learn and understand all about the sites your children use every day (see the list below!).

    How we access the internet is constantly changing and, as parents, it’s important to be aware of how your children are using the internet on a daily basis. We’ve progressed from a big bulking computer and monitor in the corner of the kitchen to having the ability to access the internet via tablets and phones and using glasses is just around the corner…who knows where this will lead us next!

    With all this in mind, online bullying has become a real and tangible issue for both young and old alike. Whereas, years ago bullying was generally confined to outside the child’s door, with the ever expanding use of technology, we have unintentionally opened our front door and invited bullying into the home. As parents we can’t completely prevent our children from going online, and it’s important to not scaremonger your children about the internet but it is important to discuss with them how they can keep themselves safe while online, just as you would teach them about road safety or stranger danger.

    So what can parents do. We have created a short information sheet for both parents and teens to keep safe online which can be downloaded below.

    Tips for Kids

    – People you are talking to online may not be who they say they are.
    – Only put up information you’d be happy for your parents & relatives to see/read.
    – Everyone should check out webwise.ie for tips on staying safe.
    – Only accept people as friends online if you know them in person.
    – Never agree to meet an online friend in person, without permission from your parents.
    – Not everything you read online is actually correct.
    – Respect others and yourself while online as you would in person.
    – Show your parents how to use the internet!
    – Don’t give out personal information (phone number, address etc.).

    Tips for Parents

    – Discover the internet together.
    – Make sure you have good lines of communication open with your children.
    – Learn about what social media your children use and how they use it.
    – Check internet history.
    – Don’t overreact if you find something that makes you uncomfortable, it’s possible your child got there by accident.
    – Encourage your child to let you know if they ever feel uncomfortable.
    – Save any abusive/concerning messages sent to your children, no matter what devise it is on.
    – Report any obscene messages to your local gardai.
    – Set guidelines for internet use whether at home or on mobile devices.
    – Set up the computer in a busy space in the house (kitchen/sitting room).
    – Get parental controls on your devices and your children’s devices. Use filtering software and keep it up to date.

    Check http://www.webwise.ie regularly for updates on the latest trends in social media activity.

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