Your teenage children will let you know when they need money and if their smart phone is broken. What you may not know: if they are using their smart phones for "sexting," that is, asking for or sending nude photos or other explicit content. Are you sure? Did you ask?
Sexting: Is your teen under pressure to send nude selfies?
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Young Australians are peppered with advice and threats over the dangers of sending explicit images of themselves. But experts say both the law and the curriculum is lagging behind experience, and too often girls take the blame and face the shame. When Erin was 17, she went along to a seminar with her year 11 class where she was told not to photograph herself naked — and definitely not to send such a picture to someone else. An older woman who had experienced first-hand how badly it could go wrong warned that repercussions could come at once, if the image was shared without her consent, or in the future, if it came to the attention of potential employers. This was coming from a fairly liberal and progressive school. Then in person, that makes sex better. But she sometimes worries that those she has sent in the past may one day be circulated without her consent.
Nude selfies: what if they are just an ordinary part of teenage life?
Updated August 27, Advising female school students not to take nude photos misses the point. When society shames young women for being sexual, we can't be surprised when young men treat them with contempt. It is almost a cliche how quickly women are shamed, even when they are the victims of criminal behaviour as appears to be the case following reports of the exposure of a major child pornography ring in Australia. The news that teenage boys and men had been secretly stealing and exchanging sexual photos of school-age girls and women triggered widespread horror and condemnation and prompted investigations by police.
The solution, according to Faye Mishna, dean of the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto, is for the topic of sharing intimate images to be discussed openly. Orach and fellow Grade 10 student Stella Heald said they deal with frequent — sometimes weekly — requests for nude selfies. Both girls said the requests usually come from their peers — specifically, boys who they see everyday in the school halls or on the school bus.