Sexting like 'drug addiction' for Kiwi teens

Stuff 9 February 2016
Sexting is being labelled a drug-like addiction for some Kiwi teens, with increasing numbers of young people sending naked photos of themselves.
Sexting, the sending of explicit phone messages, often with naked photos, is now so common that New Zealand parents would struggle to find a teenager who has not been asked to send one, NetSafe has warned.
The head of NetSafe is aware of children as young as 11 sexting, and said suicide was among the most-extreme outcomes.
And the problem comes with a stark warning – images can last online forever, and appear each time the sender’s name is typed into a search engine.
“For some teens, [sexting] has become quite a normal part of dating,” said NetSafe chief technology officer Sean Lyons.
What parents can do to stop sexting harm:
* Take a strong interest in your children’s involvement with technology.
* Make sure they know who to talk to if things get out of control. Find other solutions to challenges, rather than instantly reacting and confiscating their devices.
* Understand how technology and social media sit with young people, and how it is important in the development of social activity.
* Raise the topic of sexting as part of a wider talk about relationships.
* Be more aware of who you share images with, and have conversations with people about the photos they use.

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