As a social animal, your teen learns behaviour through modelling and imitating their peers and also adults. Young people are connected to each other and social media 24/7 and therefore influences far and wide are prominent in their lives and often there is little we are able to do about this. Celebrity culture, again accessible around the clock, can also have a great impact on impressionable teens. In their attempt to behave similarly to what they observe via social media a teen may send sexually suggestive messages and revealing images to his or her peers.
As you’d imagine the implications around this are huge. Here are some of the facts…
- taking, sending and/or receiving sexualised images of a minor (including themselves) places a teen at risk of being placed permanently on the sex offender’s register
- images do not have to be naked, but any image of a minor with sexual connotations is considered sexting
- individual offences include: taking the image or footage; sending it, receiving it, showing it to somebody
- telecommunications offences can impact upon future employment as well as travel opportunities to countries such as the USA and Canada
According to a Queensland Police representative, the challenge lies with adults not having experience with the rapid change of technology. Subsequently, advice to parents is that “kids can’t be scared enough” of the potential risks around sexting and that it’s a conversation that needs to be repeated until teens get the message.