Monday, February 6, 2012

From our colleagues at Sewickley Academy

Research shows that sexting is on the rise among teens and tweens. Could your kids be doing it right under your nose without you even knowing?
By Allison Takeda, Senior Editor

MONDAY, Dec. 5, 2011 — Some 10 percent of tweens and teens have exchanged sexually suggestive photos via phone, the Internet, or other electronic media, according to a new study just published in the journal Pediatrics. But even more — up to 39 percent, according to a survey by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy — have sent or received sexually suggestive messages, such as texts, e-mails, or IMs.

Sexting, the transmission of such messages and images, primarily between cell phones, is an increasing concern among parents — and though the study released today indicates it’s not as widespread a problem as we’d previously feared, such behavior can have serious consequences, not just for your child’s emotional well-being and privacy, but from a legal standpoint as well. If you have teens, you’re likely already on the lookout for red flags. But do you know what those flags are? Many sexually explicit messages aren’t actually that explicit — to parents, anyway. A lot of sexting is done in code, using acronyms and decoy words.

Here are just a few of the many (many!) examples of shorthand that teens and tweens use to sext:

53X = sex
8 = oral sex
Banana = penis
CD9 = code 9, parents are around
P911 = parent alert
CU46 = see you for sex
GNOC = get naked on cam
GYPO = get your pants off
IMEZYRU = I'm easy, are you?
IPN = I'm posting naked
ITS = intense text sex
IWSN = I want sex now
J/O = jerking off
Kitty = vagina
LH6 = let's have sex
LHU = let's hook up
NFS = need for sex
PRON = porn
TDTM = talk dirty to me
RUH = are you horny?

If you spot any of these messages on your child’s phone, don’t just get angry and take away his or her text privileges. Talk with your teen about why and with whom they’re exchanging such messages, and discuss the potential consequences of their actions. Then make a plan to check in with your child about his or her text habits in the future. You may also want to consider monitoring cell phone and computer use for further inappropriate behavior, and contacting the parents of the other child involved.

Read on about the dangers of sexting from Everyday Health’s medical director, Mallika Marshall, MD.

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