"Sexting" is a combination of the words "sex" and "texting." It is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photos electronically, primarily between cell phones.
Sexting is a relative new practice among teenagers and with increasing frequency; teens are coming into contact with the juvenile justice system for this activity.
FIVE THINGS TO THINK ABOUT BEFORE PRESSING "SEND"
1) Don't assume that anything you send or post is going to remain private
Your messages and images will get passed around, even if you think that they won't.
- 40% of teens and young adults say they have had a sexually suggestive message (originally meant to be private) shown to them.
- 20% say they have shared such a message with someone other than the person for whom it was originally intended.
2) You can't change your mind once something is sent to or posted in cyberspace
Those photos NEVER go away. Something that seems fun and flirty and is done on a whim will never really die
Potential employers, college recruiters, teachers, coaches, parents, friends, enemies, strangers, and others will all be able to find your past posts, even after you delete them.
3) Don't give in to the pressure to do something that makes you uncomfortable, even in cyberspace.
More than 40% of teens and young adults say "pressure from guys" is a reason girls and young women send and post sexually suggestive messages and images.
More than 20% of teens and young adults say "pressure from friends" is a reason guys send and post sexually suggestive messages and images.
4) Consider the recipient's reaction
Just because a message is meant to be fun does not mean the person who gets it will see it that way
Four in ten teen girls who have sent sexually suggestive content say they did so as a joke, but many teen boys (29%) agree that girls who send such content are "expected to date or hook up in real life."
It is easier to be more provocative or outgoing online, but whatever you write, post, or send DOES contribute to the real life impression you're making
5) NOTHING is truly anonymous
Nearly one in five young people who send sexually suggestive messages and images send them to people that they only know online (18% total).
It is important to remember that even if someone only knows you by screen name, online profile, phone number, or email address, they can probably find you if they try hard enough.
REMEMBER: You can't change your mind in cyberspace. NOTHING you send or post will EVER go away.
Keep your eyes on this article. Coming soon: Five Tips to help Parents Talk to Their Kids About Sex and Technology