Quick! Do you know where your teens are, let alone whether they’re “sexting” their fingers off? (So, for the parents not already in the know, what is sexting? Sexting is sending sexually explicit texts, photos, or videos on a cell phone to flirt, to date or hook up, or for the thrill of it.) While many teens do it -- one survey says 20 percent -- kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) are more prone to sext, because of their impulsivity and delayed brain development. High levels of hormones further fuel their desire to send racy images and messages.
Stay Calm -- Even If You’re Not
Your first instinct might be to snatch your teen’s phone while she’s in the shower, and place it in a locked box -- or to cancel your wireless plan. Don’t. This will probably backfire. Overreacting will cause her or him to overreact. Chances are, your teen will get angry and will go to any length to restore any digital privileges. Remember that punishing behaviors that she or he can’t control will create resentment between parent and child.
The best approach, say experts, is to watch your child’s back and give reminders of the consequences of sexting.
This article comes from the Winter 2010 issue of ADDitude. To read this issue of ADDitude in full, buy the back issue.