Sexting - Our children's virtual striptease

After four attempts, Anna took the perfect picture. Your hair lies loosely over your shoulders, your pouty lips are shown to advantage - just like the new push-up bra. Sexy and yet not too cheap in her opinion. She sends off the intimate self-portrait and waits eagerly for a reaction.

ONLINE TREND SEXTING - The virtual striptease

From Meike Stephan

Anna, whose real name is different, is thirteen and misses her boyfriend. He's on vacation for two weeks and several hundred kilometers away. She is afraid that he will forget her in the meantime, wants to remind him of the time together. She sends him a revealing selfie, as you do nowadays.

Intimate pictures instead of love letters

“Sexting” - a combination of the two words “sex” and “texting”, describes the taking and sending of erotic photos via electronic devices.

Beware of selfies - image by Eugenio Cuppone on Pixabay

More and more young people are using smartphones, tablets and the like to send intimate private photos of themselves. Who wants a bombastic love letter when you can say so much more with pictures?

Whatsapp and Snapchat are especially popular for intimate self-portraits. A Austrian study on sexting among young people showed that 30 percent of all respondents between the ages of 14 and 18 have already had experience with sexting. Many have already sent a nude photo of themselves.

Only they can at least estimate the sometimes serious consequences.

Far-reaching consequences

Sometimes such photos draw wider circles than the senders would like, as in the case of 13-year-old Hope from Florida, who sent her crush a picture of her bare breasts. What she could not have suspected: A friend of the boy's found the photo by chance on her cell phone and passed it on without further ado. Within a few days, the nude picture was circulating in all schools in the area. Hope becomes the mockery of the students and the target of extreme cyberbullying. Even her parents condemned her. The girl could no longer withstand the pressure and hanged herself.

Sure, Hope is an extreme example. Not every nude selfie is made public and not every victim of bullying is driven to suicide. Nevertheless, many children and young people fail to recognize the dangers that sexting and the like can pose.

Raising awareness and education

Media literacy has to be learned. Parents don't even put their child on the bike and tell them to go cycling now. Children and young people need to be made aware of the dangers that their actions pose.

Parents are primarily required here, but schools and media that are used by children and young people should also provide information and sharpen media skills. We need to talk to our children about values ​​in the digital age in general. For example, that the violation of privacy by online behavior of any kind can ruin life and not least have criminal consequences.

Above all, parents should be open and unbiased and be interested in what their children are doing online. Every new medium harbors opportunities and risks, especially if it is used by children and young people. If you reflexively direct your gaze to the possible risks, you miss the chance to observe and understand what fascinates and excites young people about it.

Related Links

More information for young people, parents and teachers on data protection, privacy and cyberbullying is available at Click safe, Look at!, juuuport , The Alliance against Cyberbullying and the Website of the Federal Office for Information Security.


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