Ask Questions, Demand Answers
Ask them to think before they send. Teens who sext don’t think about what this means to others about them, or what people may think of them. Some kids misread what other kids find acceptable. In teen culture, one incident can ruin a reputation or self esteem. Because cell phones make it easy to act on impulse, it takes only a moment of bad behavior, and another moment of bad judgment, before everyone in school knows about it.
Ask your teen to show you her privacy settings. Explain that the more private the settings, the less likely she is to receive, or unknowingly share, inappropriate material.
Be proactive in school. Make sure that your school district has zero-tolerance policies regarding camera-equipped phones in school bathrooms and locker rooms. Tell your teen that he should let you know if he sees friends using such phones.
Make the call. If your teen refuses to stop sexting, call your wireless carrier to block photos on her line. Cost: $5 a month.
Use digital monitoring systems that allow you to track their texts and photos. My Mobile Watchdog and Mobile Nanny track your teen’s e-mail, chat, and IM and image content. Another bonus: Both services allow you to block your teen’s texting function while he is driving, and, when integrated with GPS, they can track his location and monitor driving habits.
If your teen is reluctant to share their privacy settings, subscribe to safesocial.com from AOL. It enables you to see what your teen is doing on Facebook or MySpace without having to be “friends."