Teen “Sexting” Behaviors

The US Department of Justice has recently released a report entitled Building a prevention framework to address teen “sexting” behaviours. Although a lengthy report, some pointers can be taken from the recommendations:

The focus group participants converged in the sentiment that parents and families play a central role in shaping teen values and decisions surrounding sexting and related issues. The participants also offered insights into both the necessity and challenges of engaging families and parents as part of our responses. Participants in the parent focus groups often lamented the laxness of standards and discipline exercised by other parents… we observed wide variation in participants’ level of atunement to, and understanding of, teenage social use of technology in general, and teen sexting behaviors in particular. Parents also regularly described teens’ use of digital communication technology as a source of tension and conflict, highlighting themes such as the costs of cellphone bills, challenges of enforcing and monitoring internet usage, and the negative and disruptive qualities of texting and social media.

Again, an open line of communication between parents and children is recommended as well as parents teaching their children about their expected values.