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Ask the Pediatrician

Dr. Jennifer Shu and her team of pediatricians answer your health questions.

Dr. Jennifer Shu

Question & Answer


I’m concerned at the increase in teenage “sexting” via cell phones. How can I keep my children safe?


“Sexting” is when someone sends a text message with pictures of children or teens that are inappropriate or even pornographic. According to a recent survey, about 20 percent of teen boys and girls have sent such messages.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these tips on talking to your child about this growing problem.

  • Talk with your teen and ask them if they know what sexting is.
  • Teach younger children that text messages should not contain pictures of people undressed, touching or acting
    in ways they’ve never seen. For teens, explain that sexting includes pornographic photos.
  • Let your children know sexting is considered a crime in many areas.
  • Collect cell phones when children or teens are at a party to reduce the chances of someone taking inappropriate
    photos with their phone.
  • Talk to your children about news stories involving sexting.
  • Help your children rehearse ways to respond to sexting.

Source: Healthy Children Magazine, Summer 2010

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