CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - You might not want to think about it but your teen, or a teen you know, might be sexting.
WBTV Cyber Expert, and CEO of Fortalice Solutions Theresa Payton, a 2012 study in the Journal of Pediatrics indicates sexting is a new norm among young adults. She also points to a study by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy ("Teenage Sexting Statistics." GuardChild. April 14, 2014) which shows nearly 40% of all teens have posted or sent sexually suggestive messages.
Payton offers some advice on how to have a like uncomfortable but important talk with your tween or teen. Her advice follows:
1. SAFE ZONE: teach your kids to talk to you about these issues and promise them you will not over react.
2. HELPING THEM IF THEY MAKE A MISTAKE: do you know what you would do if your child did send a nude photo to someone and now it's making the rounds?
3. REHEARSAL: They are going to ask. Work through some options on how they want to handle or canned responses.
Examples: Humor: send nude chicks or puppies; Morality: my parents won't let me do that!; Ignore: Just ignore and tell them in person that you are flattered but you don't do these.
4. SEXTORTION: It's real. It hurts. Often laws and law enforcement cannot offer much to the victims.
5. LEGAL ISSUES: The distribution of nude photos of someone under 18 is the illegal. The parties involved could be charged with exploitation of a minor and possession of pornography. This can result in fines, jail time and having to be registered as a sex offender.