University researchers develop ‘safe sexting’ tips for your kids

Their suggestions include opting for “boudoir” photos instead of full nudity and using applications that automatically delete photos.

Researchers at Florida Atlantic University have compiled a list of tips for teaching children about “safe sexting.”

A professor at Florida Atlantic University recently published an article arguing that parents should teach their teen children “safe sexting.”

Sameer Hinduja, working with colleague Justin Patchin, published a report in  the Journal of Adolescent Health, titled, “It is Time to Teach Safe Sexting.”

In the report, Hindujua and Patchin acknowledge that many children are not sexting. According to their unpublished research of a national survey of almost 5,000 participants (aged 12-17) in April 2019, 14 percent of participants had sent sexually explicit pictures, and 23 percent had received such pictures.

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The colleagues also acknowledge that “Youth who engage in sexting open themselves up to possible significant and long-term consequences, such as humiliation, extortion, victimization, school sanction, reputational damage, and even criminal charges.”  

Despite this, they believe that there should be education for children about how to “sext” safely. They define safe sexting education as “teaching youth about the possible consequences” while still “equipping them with the knowledge to minimize harms that may result.”

The report includes ten key take-aways for adults to teach children about sexting including only sending illicit messages to people who they “know and fully trust.” and a suggestion to “consider boudoir pictures” instead of full nude images.

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The researchers also suggest teaching children to keep their faces, birthmarks, and scars out of any nude photos they may send and to only use applications that “provide the capability for sent images to be automatically and securely deleted.”

Patchin told Campus Reform that this information “would fit best in a comprehensive sex education curriculum. The strategies might also be conveyed by parents who might be concerned about their kids’ online behaviors.”

Campus Reform reached out to Sameer Hinduja for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @carolinefshaver