Post # 1
Regular bee undercover here. Very upset and need to calm down and get advice before I act. My daughter is 16. Has first real boyfriend, who she has been dating about 2 months. He is 17. Discovered that he asked her to send “sexy” photos to him over the phone. “Not nude, but sexy” was his request. Seems the only thing that stopped her from doing what he wanted is the fact that she did not have access to an electronic device with a camera. Has a flip phone, and computers and ipads in house are password protected. He gave her a mini-ipad(I think that is what it is), but we found it and took it away.
I have had discussions with her many times over the years about what has happened to many girls who sent pictures of themselves to boyfriends. Those pictures sometimes are sent on to nearly every boy in the high school or end up on the Internet. She seemed to understand how stupid it was to do that.
She does not know that I know. Need to react, but want to think first. And get some feedback here. No, he did not ask for nude, but that could be next. “Sexy” could mean half-dressed, and those wouldn’t be photos she wants circulated.
I insisted she go on birth control before seriously dating this guy, and I make sure she takes the pill every night. I am covered from that angle. Wouldn’t even be the end of the world if they were having sex, (and I think they are going pretty far) though I don’t think it is a good idea. BUT SENDING PICTURES IS OUT OF THE QUESTION. Who knows what he would do with them after they stopped dating, or even before.
Post # 2
We went through this last year with our seventeen year old boy with a very racy girl. We took all electronic devices then went through all the ramifications of sending and posting those kinds of photos, from being on the net forever, to criminal charges, to ruining his future and being denied college and jobs for such things. Luckily for us, his father loosing his temper (which he never does) and the fear of the future troubles was enough to end that nonsense. We work under the theory of trust but verify for almost everything involving the kids.
I don’t envy you in this situation, kids just don’t understand privacy these days since they’ve grown up with their whole lives lived through social media.
Post # 3
I am terrified about getting to this stage of parenting. Growing up pre-smart phone, pre-sexting (egads, how horrifying…) was much easier. Sending racy pictures to a high school boyfriend is a huge mistake. I really wish you luck. Peer group is so damn influential, if her friends and boyfriend all think it’s cool, there is only so much that parents can put a stop to. If only teenaged brains got how ‘forever’ digital pictures and words are…
Post # 4
Of course this is upsetting to you! I am sorry to hear you are going through this. My advice would be the following:
After you have calmed down from the initial shock (and probably some anger) that came when you found this out, it is time educate your daughter about digital identity and what her decisions now can mean down the line. I work in the internet security industry, so I feel compelled to comment here because the thing you need to impress upon her is that there is no expectation of privacy in this situation (no matter how much she thinks she can trust her boyfriend).
You’re already aware that once the digital file exists, it doesn’t “go away” even when it is deleted by the people who sent and receivied it. The issue in this case has a lot to do with trust, and all you would have to do is tell her about the many sites devoted to these exact kinds of pictures and videos – all posted after a nasty breakup, or even just in a moment of bad judgement. Once the file leaves the hands of the sender or receiver, it can pretty much never be gotten back, and all it takes is a split second of bad judgement to let that happen.
There are also potential issues with others accessing the file without her or her boyfriends consent. This happens all the time. Mobile devices are not very secure, operate on open wifi networks a lot of the time, and if the device is in the hands of anyone other than the owner for even a short period of time, anything on it of “value” is at risk.
You should also speak to her about her digital identity – everything “out there” about her and how it will follow her for the rest of her life. It’s easy to think when you’re that age that it won’t matter down the line, but it can effect future opportunities she will have, and can come back to haunt her in other ways. It’s important that she carefully curate the information about her that’s out there, and the best way to assure that no compromising information gets online is not to create it and send it to people.
I think that the issue here is that most people just do not realize this, or don’t think about it. I have had people who have this problem (adults who did things like this when they were younger and now regret it) come to me and ask if I know how to “get rid” of the pictures. It’s very, very hard to do, and it’s not easy to know whether you know where all of the data is. Once again, the best thing to do is not put it out there in the first place.
You sound like you are doing everything you possibly can to make sure your daughter is safe and educated about the possible consequences of being in a sexual relationship. She needs the same kind of education about her online activity.
Post # 5
MomInDistress: I completely understand your concern and I am terrified about this being a part of my life one day. Teenagers don’t sound fun at all. My only comment is that you are doing everything you can. You’ve guided her, given her tools to make good decisions, and even confiscated her electronic devices. You can’t keep her under lock and key and ultimately this decision will be her own. Even if you take her phone, he could take the pictures of her when they are together in person.
There’s no way to force anyone to do what you want or even to make the best decision for themselves. Keep reinforcing consequences, show her examples from the media of what happens to teenagers who do this (child porn charges, internet postings, suicide). All you can do is express the seriousness and hope that she will follow your guidance.
Good luck, mama.
Post # 6
I’d cool off and then talk to her about it. Again emphasize that this shit can blow up – and like a PP said, it doesn’t matter how trustworthy the boyfriend is. He leaves his phone sitting out and a buddy picks it up and passes the photo along to mutual friends? The boyfriend loses his phone and a stranger gets into it? And of course, so many times we think we can trust the people we’re in a relationship with and when things go south, we realize our former partner was a monster. My dear friend got the crap beat out of her by her ex, and when she finally left him, he posted photos of her online. There are several websites devoted to these sort of pictures, and even if you petition they will not take them down. And many times these websites will include links to Facebook, phone numbers, emails, etc.
I would actually pull up one of these websites and show her a few examples – especially ones where the personal information is included. So while one may think that the photos may never be connected to her, there is plenty of proof that it can be.
It sounds like you’ve had these discussions before, and I’d continue to have them. You can inform her as much as you can, and hopefully she will listen. Ultimately though, if she wants to send him photos, she’ll find a way, and she’ll have to pay any consequences, and you can know you did your best to inform her.
Post # 7
- Wedding: August 2015 - Backyard Forest
MomInDistress: I don’t know where you’re located but in Canada a little over a year ago there was a girl named Amanda Todd that ended up committing suicide because of a photo of her and haunted her for many years. There are a lot of youtube videos about it, and maybe showing the extreme of one photo again could be a solution since this is coming up again for your daughter.
I also think you could provide her with some alternatives…. this is the age where this is going to start happening a lot for her. She could take a “sexy” picture and send a kissy face photo. It might not be a comfortable conversation for your daughter, but you can tell her it will leave him wanting more, and keeps her classy and out of risk.
Don’t send photos you wouldn’t want to end up on Facebook. Pretty good policy to have!
Post # 8
Oh man i feel for you.There is a girl in my area that sent her boyfriend a pic of her in her underwear and a few topless and the boy plastered them everywhere after they split up.She still gets snide comments now and this happened 2 years ago.
I also have a daughter and due to this incident i worry about this for the future (she’s 14).I have drummed it into her that although ppl may trust the boy at the time,boys like to show off and unfortunately a lot of them do this for that reason,not just when they have broken up.Iv also said that if she was ever tempted to do this she should remember what happened to the other girl. Ask your daughter if any of her friends have experienced this or use the very sad example of the girl who took her own life
If she is absolutely determined to send him a pic then tell her to at least make it non identifiable.No face,no distinguishing marks.Thats one things the local girl said she wished she had done then. Although obviously better to not have done it in the first place
missamysmiles: ”Don’t send photos you wouldnt want to end up on Facebook” THIS!!!
Post # 9
MomInDistress: What a tough tough situation!!! I think this is a fear MANY parents, or future parents of teenagers has, especially with the technological advancements that are available now, of which were not available ‘back then’.
I am trying to spin this from how my mother would react had she seen/known the same thing. Knowing she would have done the same precautions you put into place (passwords, etc) to avoid it. Without a doubt, I feel she would have done the following:
1) Had a open, hold nothing back conversation with me. Not punishing me, or accusing me of anything, but rather letting me know the downfall of my choices. Whether it be the picture circulating, bullying, etc. Much like the same conversations she had with me about sex, drugs, alcohol, etc. There are ALWAYS consequences to the choices we make.
2) She would have called my boyfriends parents, and let them know that he sent the request, she spoke with me about why it is a terrible decision, and ultimately, wanted them to know the same information she had (knowing they can do whatever they wanted with it, as it is their child and not her own).
Afterall, a 16-year old and 17-year old are still ‘kids’!
Sure there may be anger, or embarrassment, but ultimately you are protecting them both!!
Post # 10
Oh, how I dread raising kids in this age of technology!
Impress on her the importance of finding a boy who cares more for her developing mind than her developing body. Also, if the weekly celeb debacles (ie Jennete McCurdy, Demi Lovato, Miley) are any indication, these photos don’t always stay private, and due to her young age, it would technically be child porn.
Post # 11
missamysmiles: or, don’t send photos you wouldn’t want grandma to see!
Post # 12
MomInDistress: i am so nervous about things such as this when we have children. i think that you are definitely covering all the bases, and definitely talk to her. my mother was afraid to talk to me about anything…and i ended up all over the place…making bad decisions very young because she just turned a blind eye. she thought i was so innocent. at least you know so you can prepare your talk. be open (and i can tell that you are) and make her feel like she can talk to you about anything. i only wish my mother had been that way. good luck to you!
Post # 13
MomInDistress: Ugh, I don’t envy you. When I was previously married I had teenaged stepsons and we had lots of talks with them, but you never truly know, right? I think so far it sounds like you’re doing everything you can do. She can actually get in trouble for distributing child porn (I remember seeing teens getting in trouble for that in the news) so you may want to throw that angle in there. Good luck…
Post # 14
MomInDistress: I agree with a PP – are you friendly w/the boys parents? Even if you aren’t, I sure would be calling over there so they can talk to their son about it also. She may hear everything you are saying, but when he starts pressuring her into a “sexy pic” that may override whatever you are saying! I think if both parents talked to both kids it may help from both sides.
Post # 15
I absolutely would intervene. Continue to be very direct and honest with her about the potential consequences of her actions.
I know you did not ask for advice regarding your daughter’s other possible activities, but I just wanted to note that if I were you, I would continue to strongly advise her against choosing to have sex with this boy also, despite the fact that you have willingly offered her access to oral contraceptives as a safeguard measure. As I’m sure you know, the pill offers no protection against STIs, and, if your daughter is engaging in any activities in which she is fully or partially undressing while with this boy, it’s certainly not beyond the scope of possibility that he could decide to capture his own “sexy images” of her (either with our without her knowledge and consent) while the two of them are alone together.