Dear Parents and Guardians,

The topic today is an uncomfortable one, but an important one-- sexting. Many students don't realize that sending or receiving a sexually suggestive text or image under the age of 18 is considered child pornography and can result in criminal charges. Did you know that nationally, nearly a quarter (24%) of high schoolers report having been involved in nude sexting. What's more, 11% of teen girls ages 13 to 16 have been involved with sending or receiving sexually explicit messages. Who will see a sext message? 17% of sexters share the messages they receive with others, and 55% of those share them with more than one person.

I know these statistics might shock you and you might be thankful that your child is smart enough to know the dangers of sexting, but this is too important of a topic to make assumptions. Please take the time to talk to your child about this topic. One difficult conversation can save your child from possibly making a bad decision that can bring heartache and have lasting repercussions. If you need help in how to broach this subject, check out these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Talking-to-Kids-and-Teens-About-Social-Media-and-Sexting.aspx). Just a few of the tips provided include:
  • Talk to your kids, even if the issue hasn't directly impacted your community. "Have you heard of sexting?" "Tell me what you think it is." For the initial part of the conversation, it is important to first learn what your child's understanding is of the issue and then add to it an age appropriate explanation (see next bullet).
  • Use examples appropriate for your child's age. For younger children with cell phones who do not yet know about sex, alert them that text messages should never contain pictures of people--kids or adults--without their clothes on, kissing or touching each other in ways that they've never seen before. For older children, use the term "sexting" and give more specifics about sex acts they may know about.  For teens, be very specific that "sexting" often involves pictures of a sexual nature and is considered pornography.
Thank you for working with us to ensure our students are smart and safe when it comes to their online behavior. Share the message... #ThinkBeforeYouPost!

Dr. Dana Pugh, Principal