If you are shocked by the title then you got old way too fast. The better question to ask is, “did you keep secrets from your parents?” I’m sure that makes the point so we can move on the fact that secrets are not what they used to be.
In 1985 if you made a terrible mistake in school you would be harassed for a while. Unless the transgression was thought to be so bad that you basically removed yourself from the herd completely like admitting you are gay or thought sports was a stupid waste of time you got razzed for a while then moved on. If you screw up today it is actually possible to never live it down. Internet providers by zip code captures everything, presents the data to everyone, and keeps it forever. Think that is hyperbole? Go to the Wayback Machine and check out any site you like going back years.
This brings us to the practice of sexting. If you have never heard the term sexting it is texting with sexual overtones. This could also include photos and runs the range of flirting to full out porn. Needless to say sexting is a broad term. Studies now suggest that sexting is much more common than many parents might think. More than 50% of the undergrads that participated in a study at Drexel University claimed to have sent sexually oriented texts when they were in high school. Now this could range from something tame to horribly inappropriate but the larger concern is that 30% of the sexters also included images that were nude or partially nude. While this is obviously bad for the student over 60% didn’t realize they were engaged in child pornography. And they were.
Another study found that students that practiced sexting were over 30% more likely to have sex within the same year. This particular conclusion is probably a bit of a stretch as sexting is being pointed at as a causal factor as opposed to a channel for expression. The big conclusion the studies came to was that sexting is the new normal.
Elizabeth Englander, a professor of psychology at Bridgewater State University, said of the studies, "There are now a few pieces of research, which are sort of converging on the same finding, namely that this is not a rare behavior." So the sexters are the majority and not a fringe group of emo kids. Although to suggest that any teen is emotionally stable is a reach as well.
Jon Norwood, a writer for Mobile Informers said, “When doing anything online kids need to realize that if you watch it, write it, or click it the entire world can find out. Your browsing history is stored by search engines for what could be actually forever. Be careful what you are doing and where you go”.
This is not possible you say because you keep an eye on your kid’s wireless account and phone. You may need to look into Cyber Dust, Vapor Chat, and Snapchat. These messages are designed to disappear from a phone after a predetermined time. This often works, but there are ways to save the data. See if there is any activity to any of these services and the “no sexting” teen might start looking a bit different.