Welcome back, and thanks for joining us again. If you’ve only just found this blog series by The Kronzek Firm, we recommend you spend a few minutes getting caught up. Otherwise, you know we’ve talked about what teen sexting is, law enforcement’s current approach to the issue, and how it can lead to child pornography charges. The next question is: what can be done about it?
Kids these days are growing up in a different world!
As parents, we realize that our kids are individuals who make their own choices, regardless of what you say. They also learn best by making their own mistakes. In this cyber-age of “living out loud” where everything is posted, Tweeted and Instagrammed, kids are used to living their lives in a much more public way than their parents ever did.
The downside of course, means that when they say or do something impulsive that they’re sorry about afterwards, the backlash is immediate and can be widespread and enormous. Before, if you said something offensive, it was only a small group of friends and family who knew about it. Now, it can be viral within minutes, and thousands of total strangers can weigh in on your mistake. (And they are rarely very kind about it!) So to help our kids survive youth in the digital age, what can we as parents do to help them?
How to help our kids make smarter choices in the digital age:
Talk with your kids.
Not the kind of talk where you’re lecturing about the dangers of Snapchat, and all your teenager hears is a series of boring mouth-noises. We mean actual conversation. Talk to your kids about being smart, thinking ahead, and paying attention to what’s going on around them.
Listen to them too.
Respect their right to have an opinion, even if it differs from yours, and you’ll find they’re more willing to share with you and listen to what you have to say. Keeping an open dialogue with your kids will go a long way towards letting you to share advice that they won’t automatically dismiss.
Remind your kids that ‘online is forever’
Anything sent digitally can be copied, posted, tweeted and saved. Once it’s out there, it can never be taken back, and you’ll never have control over who sees it or what they do with it. Deleting it does not means it’s gone and cannot be found.
Discuss bullying with your kids.
Make sure they know that home is a safe place where they will not be ridiculed or harassed. Work with them to develop coping skills for stressful situations, and encourage them to stand up for themselves and their beliefs. Saying “no” now may get them teased a little, but a naked picture of themselves circulated around the school or the internet will result in much more damaging ridicule lasting a lot longer.
Kids learn best when they understand the cost of an action or a choice. Allowing them to make smaller mistakes to learn that the price is sometimes not worth paying, helps them choose not to make bigger mistakes later on. Discuss with them other instances of kids who sexted with terrible outcomes – suicides or criminal charges – in order to get them thinking about the long term effects.
This may sound like a totally unrelated issue, but it really isn’t. Kids who feel valued and loved are less likely to do stupid things to get attention, or give in to pressure or bullying. And when it does happen, because kids aren’t perfect, create an environment where they can feel forgiven and hopefully learn something positive from the mistake. Most of our attorneys at The Kronzek Firm are parents or grandparents so we speak from experience.
If you need legal help for them, get it!
Our skilled sex crime defense attorneys see the mistakes teens make every day simply because they’re young. A criminal conviction closes many doors in our society for jobs, education, and even sometimes where a person can live. Young people still have a lifetime ahead of them. Do what you can to make sure your child has a good future by getting the best legal help possible when they make immature choices. Call 866 766 5245 (866 7NoJail) to discuss your child’s legal problem with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help! Remember, the right attorney is critical.