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Teen Sexting, Here Is What Parents Can Do

By December 18, 2009

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A mom on our forum: I periodically spot check my preteen daughter's MySpace and text messaging activities. She is aware that I do. She has been made aware of what we believe is inappropriate behavior online and in texts through ongoing discussion. She has friends that are boys, and she texts with them a lot. I recently discovered a boy (same grade in school) texting some messages that were sexually explicit. There were several where he told her to touch herself, take her clothes off to her bra and panties, etc., and about how some other girl had seen his privates accidentally (which appeared to be baiting her to request a picture). I did not notice any related responses by her, or any pictures sent (I can see when and to whom pictures are sent on the account). My daughter does not like to 'share' but we did attempt to address it with her and provide some guidance on handling this with him. She said she does not respond to these kinds of messages from him. However, she continues to text with him a lot.

I saw another message sent in the early morning hours today - the endearing kind of talk that boys use to get close to a girl to get her to have sex...so I blocked his number from her home. I told her that we had decided to do this at least for now. I also told her to expect him to tell her awful things about her parents for doing it. She didn't argue about it (we watch MTVs Strictest Parents with her, so maybe that's why).

Denise's thoughts: I think you did the right thing. You used open communication, let her know what is going on, what you were going to do and then you followed through with your very clear message. Kudos!

Asking our parenting community: Have you found inappropriate texts on your teen's phone? Have you talked to your teen about sexting? Please share your thoughts, advice and opinions in our comments area.

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Comments
December 18, 2009 at 8:52 am
(1) Debbie says:

We had the same problem with our 12 1/2 year old daughter. We made the decision to block texting on her phone. It was hard at first, but one year later I can say it is the best parenting decision we have ever made. We have our daughter back and engaged with the family and she has watched several of her friends get in trouble with sexting and now understands why we did it. Some other parents we know are doing the same and have been really happy with the results.

December 18, 2009 at 9:28 am
(2) PGoodwin says:

Yes..however our experience was our son getting the messages. I didn’t think girls were so..BOLD. The young lady asked my son if he was interested in getting a sexual favor from her to him..and then she went on to tell him she does it all the time, and that she had sent some photos of herself to another boy. As parents..we tried to contact her parents. Unfortunately..her father happens to be the mayor of our town. Needless to say, we haven’t received a response from her parents on the matter..and having daughters myself I’m worried for this child that she could find some unwanted attention. We took our sons phone explaining that although he told her in his text that he wanted to change the subject..he continues to chat w her, making her feel like there is a possibility of him accepting the “favor” from her. Its distressing that there are some kids out there that are so consumed with sex and it keeps parents looking for creative ways to address these situations.

December 18, 2009 at 10:37 am
(3) Greg says:

I have been a student pastor for 18 years and have always talked straight with the teens that I work with, and this mothers response was right on target. technology has come along way, I tell my own kids it can be used for good and bad the same. I am getting my 11 year old a phone for Christmas and we are going to set her down and make up rules just for texting, this will be done as a family so the rules will be across the board the same for both of my girls with phones. God Bless this mother for her being a part of her teens life.

December 18, 2009 at 2:52 pm
(4) CHARLOTTE 1 says:

I think you have done absolutely the right thing. I am having problems with sexting on the phone…. but more with it on facebook. It is very distressing to think of my 13 nearly 14 year old daughter involved in this kind of stuff. I try to limit the phone after 10pm and (without her knowledge) keep a close eye on her facebook. So I know what is going on (even tho I despise what I see) and try my best to advise her accordingly, but it isn’t easy.

December 19, 2009 at 4:54 pm
(5) Cindy says:

I have a 15 year old son, I recently found a note from a girl saying “I’ve thought about it, I would love to be with your child in the next few months. But first you must prove to me that we will be able to work out, like forever, I want to be with you until the end of time”. I could use other parents advice/comments as to what they would do. I am not sure if they have had sex or not. I have found a condom in his room. We have talked many times about sex, and before I do again, I would really like to hear from other parents. Thanks so much. Cindy

December 19, 2009 at 8:39 pm
(6) Trish says:

thanks for this advice. i like this forum for parents who are at their wits end. THANK YOU. I talk with my 16 yr old daughter, who has a lot of boys as friends about phone texting and the sending of pics that aren’t to be sent to her friends. I also keep an eye on her on facebook….. ITS HARD!!!! BUT I’M GONNA KEEP ON TRYING. THANKS AGAIN

December 21, 2009 at 10:04 am
(7) fee says:

I have 15 years daughter I have to say she is not easy going at all and she has been caught so many times so far with bpysI found packed of condom few days ago and I am so panic about it she does not want to talk about it at all , I do not know what to do with her

December 22, 2009 at 2:29 pm
(8) Heather says:

My daughter will be 15 in a couple of weeks and I thank God she is niave. I check her phone quit a bit and her facebook account. She doesn’t even have a boyfriend yet. I am glad that she is into computers, video games, sports. I may have to deal with this someday but so far so good.

January 4, 2010 at 12:18 am
(9) Connie says:

I got so tired of seeing inappropriate stuff on my 15 year olds phone, I took it away. This didn’t stop her. I found out she uses the internet at school, and her friends phone. There is no way to control this. We are in counseling now. Hopefully we will develop better communication, and she will see how dangerous this is.

January 28, 2010 at 8:58 am
(10) Dawn says:

Last night I found sexual texts on my 12 year old daughters phone. The “boy” on the other end is 18 so my first thought was kill the boy and strangle my daughter but then I calmed down and came to understand that it is my reaction to this situation that can either help or fuel the fire. I now have a new Gravity 2 that now weighs my purse down even more. She will not get it back until text block is on it and we have ALOT to discuss….back in MY DAY this started around 15/16 but this aint “our day” ANYMORE so parents STEP UP and deal with this HEAD ON like I am going to do and 12 year olds just “need” a phone….no texting, no picture messages etc…..don’t think “your kid would never do it”….or keep living under that rock and your kid will end up WITH a kid…..peace out and power to the parents who DON’T want to be GRANDparents yet!!!!!

February 2, 2010 at 1:22 pm
(11) Wendi says:

This has been so helpful! My 15 year old daughter recently discovered explict texts on my 13 year old daughters cell phone. We took away her phone & have discussed with her in great detail how inappropriate this is & all of the consequences involved, including legal ones. I have tried & continue to try to get ahold of the boy’s parents however he goes to a private school in another town & am having a hard time. She knows that she will not have her phone back for a long time & that she will no longer be allowed to have any contact with him either. When she does get her phone back she will have very limited texting available to her – only family. Thanks for the encouraging information that shows me I am on the right track!

March 30, 2011 at 9:54 am
(12) rose says:

We caught our 14 year old sexting and also using skype with strangers she met on the internet. We have time limits set on her computer but she managed to bypass. We also have internet family safety on all the computers and she managed to bypass. I am still in a shock that this happens and would never, ever expected something like this to happen. Nobody has a perfect family but we get comments from many people about ours. We work hard to achieve this and to get this….. Not exactly sure how to handle since I am still in a shock. Trust no one!

July 14, 2011 at 9:04 am
(13) agb says:

I discovered my 11 year old daughter totally involved in sexting (pretty explicit) last night. Unfortunately, as I read the messages I realized that she is the initiator, of course the 11 year old boy isn’t discouraging her too much (he actually did tell her that they were too young) but he kept the conversation going. I took the phone away and we also found that she was looking up porn on her phone. Where does this come from. We are a normal family, mom, dad and her. We are not sexually explicit in front of her. While I know times have changed and I thought I would deal with sexual issues at an earlier age, 11 really. Where does one find help in situations like this. I took the phone and I can control the internet in our household, but not in her friends.

She is an honor roll student and I know most people would be shocked if I said this about her. They would think I am nuts, but it is amazing what is going on while we are not looking.

I am petrified, she will be pregnant in middle school at this rate. Help!

August 1, 2011 at 6:36 pm
(14) StunnedStepMom says:

We just found texts on my 15 year old step sons phone that would make your stomach turn. He had his phone taken away back in April because he was texting a girl who had a boyfriend (the boyfriend was a rugby-playing senior, my son a scrawny freshman). We tried to tell him to leave her alone, that he was going down a bad path. He chose not to listen, so when I found more texts of her telling him how to “lock” his phone so his parents couldn’t read his texts, we took the phone. He was told the only people he was allowed to text was me, dad, and grandma. Fast forward to today, he has lost is phone because of sexting. We were just checking on him, and there they were. SO GROSS!! I just bought him a pink phone that will only allow him to call me/dad/911. Embarrassing?? HELL YES!! But completely necessary. At 15 they think they are above the rules.

September 3, 2011 at 1:56 pm
(15) julia says:

help my daughter recieved a text message from someone- and went along for fun the fun got carried away and the conversation that took place turned my stomach that my 12 year old little girl was even speaking like this. she does not even know this person how do i get the cops involved? or do i?
and comments will help

October 7, 2011 at 7:35 am
(16) Tracey says:

This is some advice that I came across when I was worried about my child sexting:

Donít wait for an incident to happen to your child or your childís friend before you talk about the consequences of sexting. Sure, talking about sex or dating with teens can be uncomfortable, but itís better to have the talk before something happens.

Remind your kids that once an image is sent, it can never be retrieved — and they will lose control of it. Ask teens how they would feel if their teachers, parents, or the entire school saw the picture, because that happens all the time.

Talk about pressures to send revealing photos. Let teens know that you understand how they can be pushed or dared into sending something. Tell them that no matter how big the social pressure is, the potential social humiliation can be hundreds of times worse.

Teach your children that the buck stops with them. If someone sends them a photo, they should delete it immediately. Itís better to be part of the solution than the problem. Besides, if they do send it on, they’re distributing pornography — and thatís against the law.

If you are concerned about your child sexting, I used an app called Mobileminder to keep an eye on what my son was texting. With Mobileminder I was able to check his text messages, pictures, call logs, etc. from my computer. If you are concerned about your own child I would highly recommend using Mobileminder. The website is http://www.mobileminder.com

April 29, 2012 at 7:42 pm
(17) norma says:

I am at my wits end with my daughter behaviour. She is almost 15 and is having very sexually explict private messages through Facebook and telling serious lies about me assualting her. Social work is now involved so do I show them the messages or not as my relationship with my daughter is at breaking point.

September 16, 2012 at 4:35 am
(18) A mom that is going through too much says:

Please be aware that if it is a smart phone my daughter figured out a way to get the Internet working, please also know if he or she lives by someone that is near that they could be using their wifi. I want all parents to look out for tumblr. My daughter was using it to view porn. They are
Probably more site out there but I am not a teen in this tech age. I would limit it to a text and phone calls kind of phone or no cell phone, just use the home phone. My daughters friends knew how to hack computers and phones at a every young age. Hope this helps out the parents. I so sorry that any parent has to go through this.

December 12, 2012 at 3:05 am
(19) overwhelmed says:

I just caught my 13 1/2 yr old son sexting. I decided after reading the exchange of text messages with a girl to check his photos. He sent a picture of himself after receiving several very explicit photos from her. What do I do? I took his ohone away, but do i contact her parents, school? what? I am so lost. If my daughter sent photos like that i would want to know…I just don’t know where we go from here. He has never done anything like this before…he is an athlete and an A student…I regularly check his phone so am just shocked…help!

January 8, 2013 at 10:19 pm
(20) Janice says:

I am going through the same thing with my grandaughter. We have caught her sex texting and sending photos of herself. We have talked to her, taken the phone away for months. She just will not stop. I just do not know what to do. She is only 13.

January 17, 2013 at 1:21 pm
(21) senedu says:

I found out my sixteen year old is sending messages and picture of herself to srtange men, and asking them to have se x with her. I want to involve the police . she also lies and tells them all strange things that are happening in the house which is not true. she even lied to them we once called the police on her. We have never called the police. we are worried please advise me. I want to report this to the police before it is too late. I pick her up from school everyday. Very soon, she will start college and she has to go to school by herself. she can meet anybody at anywhere without my knowledge. This is horrifying.

February 7, 2013 at 3:11 pm
(22) gabriel says:

My daughter laptop just broke down and i went into her room to pick it up and sort it.While i was trying to sort it out her Skype came on and i went pale in 1 sec.Here was the message

him:suck me
her:u suck me
him:69
her:OK,when?
him:tomorrow
her:where?
him:my home
her:OK,c ya tomorrow
him:what time?
her:anytime
My daughter is 13 years old going on 14 and when i asked her about this she said she hates my house and she ran out of home at 8 in the evening UK time.
I really need help ppl because i really feel like killing somebody….now i am gone call the police to pick her up……why me god:(
I am still waiting for her

February 27, 2013 at 1:44 am
(23) Johnny says:

Wow… I understand the concern for the young ones 13 and below but like 15 And up its gonna happen you can’t stop it to be honest if they want bad enough they will and going to public school hahaha nuff said. And the way you monitor this stuff reminds me of a class mate whose mom is like y’all worried and doing all of these restrictions just like y’all thinking it would work well it didn’t and drove him to do worse stuff then sexting were he stuck his places in places they don’t belong and also got a blow job like the ones you give your husband so shows you if they want it ba enough they well we can get it.
Also a lot of the kids that are in elementary know about all of this sex and sexting and doing all of this because of YOU you adults all over this country being so open with sex and not censoring it as well as it should be to be honest when I hear about 10 and 8 year olds doing some wierd stuff I’m disgusted.
So don’t push your kids to far or things will get worse and at night when your hubby gets home from that late night at work an you think the kids asleep and your all like come here big daddy I hope this makes you reconsider before making that headboard knock bye overprotected parents

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