Whether you like it or not, ‘sexting’, and sending nude images via social media and messaging apps, are now common elements of modern teen interaction.

That doesn’t mean that all youngsters are doing it, nor that your kids will be sharing images of themselves online. But they are likely very aware of such practice – and as such, it is worth talking to your kids about the dangers of online sharing in this way, and the risks of not only sharing their own content, but also forwarding nudes posted others.

But that can be obviously be an uncomfortable conversation, which is why Meta has published a new guide to help parents talk to their kids about these risky practices, and the key focus points that parents should be looking to emphasize in such discussions.

The overview covers all the key elements, including this key note of relief for parents:

The good news is that research shows a lot fewer teens send intimate images than you might think – as few as one in ten. Researchers in Canada have also found that more teens have received intimate images than sent them, so it can seem like a more common activity than it really is.” 

So again, while you may hear a lot of chatter around sexting, that doesn’t mean that everybody’s doing it – which Meta’s guide says is a key point to emphasize to your kids:

“The most important thing to tell our teens is that it’s not true that “everybody’s doing it.” You should also tell them never to let anyone pressure them into sending an intimate image.

The guide also looks at the expanded impacts that engaging with such content can have, even if it’s shared by someone else, and how to advise teens to delete such content if they ever receive it.

Encourage them to ask themselves these questions:

  • Did the person in this picture mean for it to be shared?
  • If it came from someone other than the original sender, did they have permission from the person who’s in it?
  • How would I feel if somebody shared something like this with me in it?”

It’s a good, common sense overview of how to deal with the issue, and the most common queries that your kids will likely have in relation to nudes and sexting.

Which, as a parent, is indeed frightening. I personally can’t imagine why sending nudes has become a common practice, but the reality is that it has, and that can lead to significant impacts for youngsters who may not be aware of the full consequences of such as yet.

You can read Meta’s full conversation overview guide here.

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