A 17-year-old girl gives advice on talking to your teenagers about keeping their clothes on.
Last week, pornographic cell phone pictures and video of two teen girls were forwarded all over their high school. Police forced at least 40 students to show their phones to police to prove the images had been erased. If they didn't comply, they were told they could be prosecuted in juvenile court for possession of child pornography.
As Moms, we were sickened when we heard this story. We immediately wanted to talk to our teens about this--but what would we say?Perhaps there's no one more qualified to give advice on talking to teens than a teen herself. We called our friend Karen, 17, a writer for the teen sex ed site Sex, Etc., for her advice to Moms.
Here are Karen's top five tips:
• Approach your child calmly, but firmly. It's important that your child knows that you care and that you're talking to him or her out of concern, not because you're trying to pry.
• Stress the dangers of taking nude photos and sharing them--especially through their cell phone or on the Internet. Ask your daughter or son if she or he wants to be humiliated because of one mistake with a camera phone. Ultimately, teens need to know that if they respect themselves by not trying to be amateur porn stars, everyone else will respect them, too.
• Remind your teen that you pay the cell phone bills if your child gives you a hard time. Basically, our social lives and safety are in your hands.
• Trust us and we'll trust you. We'd much rather deal with a lecture on responsibility than have you going through all our texts and e-mail messages to see for yourself if we're telling the truth. Just like we want you to respect our privacy, we'll respect your word.
• Don't forget that you raised us pretty well. We know the difference between right and wrong. So, have a little faith in not just us, but in the values you taught us. Give yourselves a little credit; you deserve it.
Karen Choucrallah, 17, is on the teen editorial staff of Sex, Etc.