Cracking the Sexting Code

Sexual expression is a major part of human development, and often occurs as part of puberty – but if it seems like kids are getting interested earlier than before, that’s because they really are. As reported by MedicineNet, puberty has occurred earlier and earlier over the last century – and teens are turning to sexting as one way of expressing the changes they’re experiencing.

Why Are Teens Sexting?

Teens sext for many different reasons – some do it because they think it’s fun, others want to feel sexy, while a significant number of both genders sext because they feel pressured into doing so.

There’s no universal reason why teens get started on this – what’s truly important is understanding that they do sext, and what they’re saying is just as important as the fact that they’re sexting at all.

However, we need to understand that teens see sexting as normal. This is the point that parents, guardians, and teachers often miss – in many cases, teens see it as a perfectly healthy and appropriate way of expressing their sexuality, even when adults – or the law – disagree.

Sharing the Information

Sexting comes in two main forms – text and photographs- and are usually shared over messaging apps or sext friendly apps. Over two-thirds of teens with access to smartphones have sexted someone else, usually their boyfriend or girlfriend, and in many cases girls are asked to sext rather than initiating it on their own.

However, most teens are jealous of their information and privacy – they might be willing to share an explicit photograph with the person they’re dating, but they don’t believe that picture should be passed around. In short, teens only accept sexting when they have some measure of control over it.

This falls squarely in line with how teens feel about the rest of their information – they don’t want it to be used in ways they don’t approve of, but as long as they consent, they’re not going to worry about it.

The real problem is when teens start sharing information without realizing it’s wrong. An increasing number of teens are being arrested for distributing child pornography of themselves, and you can bet that most of them don’t believe it was wrong. This is especially true in cases where teens married before 18 (which is legal in most states, though parental consent is typically required) and see exactly nothing wrong with sending erotic messages or images to their spouse.

Fortunately, such cases will rarely be prosecuted, but the law is the law and it’s still illegal.

What About The Slang?

There’s a common misconception that messages between teens consist mainly of obscure slang designed to hide the real conversation from parents. While it’s true that certain words and phrases are used, slang isn’t a truly significant part of most sexts.

In other words, there’s no truly secret ‘code’ you’ll need to unravel before you can understand what teens are saying – all you really have to do is read the messages themselves.

All of this comes down to a simple bit of information: While we may not care that teens are sexting in the first place – unless it involves actions like threatening to release nude photographs without the subject’s consent – we should care enough to keep tabs on them, talk with them about appropriate sexting behaviors, and make sure they’re truly in control of what they’re doing.

TeenSextingCode

TeenSextingCode

About Amy Williams

Amy Williams is a free-lance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyberbullying and online safety. She can be reached via Twitter @AmyKWilliams1 Disclaimer: Amy K Williams is an article contributor. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ZooBuh, Inc.
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