The Enticing World of Sexting and Its Impact on Our Kids

dangers of sexting

As a mental health counselor specializing in adolescents, one of the workshops I offer for parents of teens is called Technology and Teens. I go over all the present apps that the majority of adolescents use to educate parents about the potential emotional, relational, and psychological struggles kids could have using these apps.

Sexting is always a big topic parents want addressed. And while sexting isn’t an app, there are plenty of apps that are conducive to producing and sharing sexts. And though we can probably guess the negative consequences, legally and socially, let’s talk about 3 dangers of sexting parents need to know about.

It changes the brain.

Teens are going through a pruning process neurologically. In other words, as their brain is constantly changing and will change until the age of 25, the brain is looking for activities to pursue and ones to skip. When our brains are highly stimulated, like with drugs, sex, and other pleasurable things, our brain remembers and craves such highs! So when our teens are in similar circumstances as when they first received or sent a sext, their brain has created a shortcut straight to the pleasure center and creates an urge and craving to get more. Combine the fact that the decision-making and understanding consequence section of the brain are still developing with the instant gratification of sexting and it leads to several poor choices.

It changes the way we view each other.

No longer do we look at each other as individuals with parents and personality; instead, we are each put on a scale of appearance value and potential means for gratification. Just like with pornography, sexts turns both boys and girls into objects for potential pleasure, instead of the intrinsic value we are all born with. Educating our kids about everyone’s value is an important step in social development and maturation. Teaching kids that no matter someone’s socio-economic status, their race, their gender, down to how people even style their hair, every life matters!

It distorts true intimacy.

Sexting, sex, being in a relationship—all these things elicit an amount of pleasure. Regardless of the context, sexual activity feels good. However, what many people are missing out on is intimacy! This world has a lot of counterfeits. So in ignorance, we settle for instant yet unsatisfying pleasure. {Tweet This} Intimacy is much more than sex. Intimacy is security; it is hope; it is strength; it is long-lasting. Read more about how true intimacy takes work. We are fallible and it is not perfect, but it is always worth it! The best definition I have seen for intimacy is found in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 13 where it talks about love. Why settle when we can have intimacy like that?!

What impact in teen sexting was surprising to you?

Paige Clingenpeel is a licensed teen therapist and has worked on TV, radio, and web-based media. Her passion is creating health, hope, and humor for youth and their families.