Shrink Rap: Sexting, What Parents Need to Know

Shrink Rap: Sexting, What Parents Need to Know

[click "Play" to hear Dr. Paul Hokemeyer's conversation with Susan about sexting]



By Dr. Paul Hokemeyer 

Hokemeyer Dr.  Paul Hokemeyer is a nationally recognized expert on Eastern philosophies, relationships, and emotional healing. A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, he holds a PhD in psychology, as well as a doctorate in the law. A part-time Telluride resident, Dr. Hokemeyer is based in the New York City office of the Caron Treatment Centers. He is also a weekly contributor to "The Dr. Oz Show," CNN’s "Headline News," and other media outlets, including "Good Morning America," "truTV," and "Oprah Radio." His new column, Shrink Rap, is scheduled to appear at least bi-monthy on Thursdays on Telluride Inside… and Out.

My mother frequently says she doesn’t know if she could have survived raising a teenage girl: with my bother and me, she only had to worry about two penises. With a girl, she’d have to worry about thousands. Now imagine my mother’s anxiety if her worry about her sons' sexual behavior were compounded by a technology she could barely comprehend. What if she had to worry about a new trend in teen flirting. What if she had to worry about sexting?

Sexting is the term used to describe the sending of sexually explicit photographs and messages over cell phones. The act of sexting is causing a lot of panic for a lot of parents –  and a lot of trouble for a lot of kids.

Recent surveys suggest 20– 40% of teenagers have engaged in sexting, sending naked pictures of themselves or sexual messages to other people. Usually these sexts have an intended audience, but as we all know, the best intentions can lead to disastrous results.

Sexting by teenagers has led to suicides, ruined reputations, bullying, criminal prosecution and mandatory registration as a sex offender. Teens arrested for sexting are charged with the possession and distribution of child pornography. Yes, child pornography: based on the stats, about one in five teens could be described as a child pornographer under the current definition and risk life imprisonment. (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida have already gone after creator-victims.)

So what’s a parent to do? Far starters, talk to your kids and let them know what’s going on. Explain that there are serious consequences for sexting and that by sending a sext, they are opening themselves up to personal and legal consequences.

For a more details, click the "play" button and listen to my interview with Susan Viebrock and follow this link to a video interview on the subject:

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