Sexting among Teens: Repercussions

Sexting is sending sexually explicit messages, photos or videos via cell phone, computer or any digital device.

In some teen groups, sexting is an accepted behavior that happens when people date or are interested in one another romantically and physically. Regardless of the reason for it, the number of teens using the built-in cameras on their smartphones and other electronic devices to take nudes is on a rise.

The study titled 'Mobile sex-tech apps: How use differs across global areas of high and low gender equality' was published in the journal PLOS ONE where the researchers took responses from 1, 30,885 women in 191 countries, including 23,093 from India, it was found that 19 per cent Indian women, compared to 21 per cent globally, use smartphone applications to find a partner for hookups or to look for long-term or short term relationships and about 62 percent desi women engage in sexting.

The study published in the Journal of Psychosexual Health shows that males across different age groups involved more in receiving and sending sexting messages.

However sexting has adverse emotional and other negative consequences. Sexting behavior could have a negative consequence on an individual and could be associated with various problems such as risky sexual behavior, cyberbullying, and online victimization. Once a picture or video considered nude is sent by using any digital media becomes a source which can destroy the life of the person sending it, they may get blackmailed over it.

Sexing has its consequences and one must be really careful with whom they trust and what they are sharing using any electronic device. To make it clearer I would like to share an instance, there was a girl I knew who shared some pictures with her boyfriend when they were in a relationship. It was three years after their breakup that this boy started blackmailing her for money. When she refused, he circulated those pictures on ‘WhatsApp’ and it went viral overnight. This incident came as a roller coaster in her life damaging her emotional state as well as her social status. She was lucky enough that her parents had this strong emotional and a friendly connection with her and they realized that it was a mistake and supported her to deal with the problem and take the required action.

It is very natural that there is curiosity and a strong physical attraction towards the opposite gender during the teenage period and it may take you to ways that are not that appropriate, sexting is one of them which is also considered illegal. One must always be very careful with the content they are sharing on any digital media and even if they are sharing they should have proper knowledge of the apps they are using to do so. Another important thing to keep in mind is to never show your face or anything that can join the chains to you. The saying “Precaution is better than cure” proves right here.

Now, as we know technology has been an unavoidable part of today’s world and it is very important for parents to have the right knowledge about digital devices as well. In this age, only parenting is not enough but Digital parenting is required. So parents need to be more involved in their children’s online as well as offline activities and guide them as per need and situation. In a county like India, talking about sex and pornography has been a topic of taboo but time has changed and parents should have an open and detailed discussion and educate their child on sexual topics, sexting is one of them. A parent of this age should not shy away in explaining why it is inappropriate to send and receive nudes and what consequences it may impose.

Parents should always build a friendly relationship with their children and discuss sensitive topics like this to help them differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate.

Shobha Gupta
Shobha Gupta

Hi! I am Shobha Gupta, a post graduate fresher in MSW. I like to read, write and dance to keep myself entertained. Also, i aspire to be the best version of myself.