Talk About the Technology
Have the talk. Take a nonjudgmental and informational approach. Keep the dialogue open, and leave room for your kids to talk with you. Remember that the word sexting was coined by the press. Kids may have a different name for it. Try some simple starters to break the ice: “Have you heard about this sexting thing? Do you know anything about it?” Or “Can we talk about the things you and your friends share via cell phones or online? I want to make sure you’re looking out for yourself and your friends, as well.”
Calmly state the facts. If your teen is under 18, sending or receiving sexually explicit photos or video is considered child pornography under federal law. If convicted, she could be looking at jail time, and you could be sued by the parents of the child receiving such images.
Explain that digital is forever. Remind your teen that, once digital images and sex texts are out there, even if sent privately to a girlfriend or boyfriend, there is a digital footprint online. You can’t take them back.