Sexting: A Hot Topic for Kids and Parenting (Part Two)

04
Feb
2010
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Sexting: A Hot Topic for Kids and Parenting (Part Two)

Part 2.
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The second most common mistake when it comes to parents responding to this whole sexting phenomena is we get so focused on the horror of the problem (pictures of your teenager’s body parts, pictures of them or their friends involved in sexual acts, and a lot of degrading **##@@%%), that we fail to move on to the solution. Use the reality of the problem to start a dialogue about the solution, not to build a movement against this new form of an old evil force lurking in cyberspace.
This perversion of good has been going on since Adam and Eve appeared on the scene and the solution is the same today as it was back in the Garden of Eden. God looked at their sin and the consequences that it required and, instead of throwing up His hands and saying, “Wow, I never saw that coming. Now what am I going to do?” He instead sought them out and offered them a relationship – one that would change their hearts even within a corrupted world that would not be changed.
It is the same with our kids. Their world of technology and access to all kinds of evil is not going away. It will not get better. It will not change. What can get better is our relationship with them as parents. What can change is their heart and desire for evil.
We need to concentrate on being an attentive, involved, grace-based parent who walks them through the valley of the shadow of cyberspace and helps them come out on the other side as a responsible young person who resists the urge to create and send this kind of sexting crud and refuses to entertain the images and vulgarity sent their way.
Here are some practical steps you can take to discourage irresponsible use of technology, including sexting:
  • Keep computers, gaming consoles and, if your child is a repeat offender out of their bedrooms. If they are repeat offenders, take away their cell phone. (Don’t worry, they’ll survive!)
  • Know your kids’ passwords and user names. If they refuse to give you them, lock them out of the computer and only let them access it when they’re doing homework in your presence.
  • Make being their friend on Facebook a requirement.
  • Be very clear and straightforward about what is and is not appropriate conversation and behavior online whether on their computer or phone.
  • Make the consequences of abusing their privilege of having access to the computer and phone very clear and the carrying out of these consequences swift, memorable and consistent.
  • Paint the very dark but accurate future that can be waiting on them because of their poor choices, i.e. being a registered sex offender for life, employers looking at social networking as part of their background check, and their reputation with people who really matter and care about them, etc.
And don’t forget the golden rule. “He who owns the gold, makes the rules.” You are the parent and you have every right to have access to and control over your child’s internet accounts, social networking pages and cell phone. After all, you are paying for them. If they’re minors but wanting to pay for their own phone, refuse to co-sign on their contract if they have a track record of sexting.
To be continued….

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