preteen texts on my daughter’s phone

Carolyn - posted on 10/21/2014 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My daughter is a 7th grader and has good grades and nice manners. I just started reading my daughter’s texts with a newer female friend, and was shocked to see all the trash talk “jokes” and sex related comments. She is very sweet and always respectful, but I did not expect this. We’ve always been very open in conversation and Ive been teen honest in delicate topics. I think she is trying to be cool, but I want to influence her to not be so gross! Help please.

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Sarah - posted on 10/21/2014

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So true, we had an incident that was very embarrassing to my 15 yo. Without going into detail, she got caught up in a very inappropriate text conversation about a male teacher. The girls were being silly at the core of the matter, making crude jokes and comments. The whole thing blew up when another "friend" stumbled upon the conversation and went public.
I remind my kids often, that what they say or post on their phones or the internet is permanent. If you wouldn't say it over the loud speaker at school. Then don't put it in writing or image on your phone or computer. Teens have terrible judgment and don't think of long term consequences.

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Rebecca - posted on 10/22/2014

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My daughter is the same age as yours, and she's also a 7th grader. tell her that it is not okay.

Sarah - posted on 10/21/2014

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I see it everyday on my teen's Instagram account. Friends post pictures in their school uniform and sports uniforms, any predator can easily find you with that information. The kids sit thru an internet safety lecture twice a year, but they don't listen to the detective that tells them what to post and what NOT to post. Your bra size? Not OK! Your last name? An open account on Instagram? What are they thinking?
I get so frustrated that other parents don't pick up their kids phones and review their kids activity!

Jodi - posted on 10/21/2014

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Unfortunately, there are many parents who don't supervise that tightly :(

Sarah - posted on 10/21/2014

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Smart phone have become a very difficult part of technology to control. There are third graders in the school I work in that have new iPhones! That 9 years old. The parents justify giving to the kids with a million reasons. Ultimately, every parent must accept responsibility for their kids. My 10 and 12 yo share a tracfone. They take it to sport practices so I can get a call if practice ends early or if someone were to get injured. It is just a basic call and text phone, no data, no picture. So far that works. We have given smartphones as the big gift for turning 15. Believe me, I go thru the texts, I look at the pictures, and I check the phone numbers too. I trust my kids, but they are kids! I don't let them roam the city unsupervised, why would I let them roam the internet unsupervised?

Jodi - posted on 10/21/2014

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Conversations, talks at school, or not, kids this age ARE sexting. Personally, after the things I've witnessed and the reports I've had to make at my school, I would NEVER allow my 12 year old to have a smart phone. Just last week I had to investigate an issue of distribution of child pornography as a result of a 12 year old who photographed herself chin to waist and sent it via snapchat to a 13 year old boy. Next thing you know, there are photographs out there that she can NEVER get back, and the mental health of this child is now in shreds.

Don't get complacent about these things. Having the talks at school is not going to stop it. Don't believe the talks about it at school will necessarily work. You, as the parent, need to be vigilant and have the conversation. You are the single biggest influence in your daughter's life. Set boundaries around the phone use too. Even the time available on the phone. Cyberbullying is also a very real issue that can have dire consequences (unfortunately I have see those too). I'm glad to hear you have open and honest conversations. Please keep it that way :)

Carolyn - posted on 10/21/2014

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Thank you. This is good insight and reminder. I did talk to her this morning after reading it and it was a calm caring conversation. She was very embarrassed and she doesn’t know why they do it, but it’s a “joke.” I have to get throughout to her that things can be seen by others and make her look bad. It’s all so scary, the technology and access.
And at school they have education about the danger of sexting and drugs etc. It’s the teenage brain, not grown but they think they know so much.

Raye - posted on 10/21/2014

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I forgot to mention that girls under 18 who send nude or risqué pictures of themselves over text are actually participating in child pornography, and the parents can be arrested! Make sure she knows NEVER to do that.

Carolyn - posted on 10/21/2014

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Thank you! I went ahead this morning and talked to her because we had a few private minutes. I reminded her about the dangers of writing texts and how things can get out of hand. She was embarrassed and apologetic. I reminded her that I am trying to protect and “teach” her! Yes, we had sex talk in the 5th grade and now I am talking more about it again. Thanks for your insight and help!

Raye - posted on 10/21/2014

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It's probably harmless at this point. But it could escalate over time, get her in with the wrong crowd, and/or get boys to think that she's easy. Tell her that she has not given you any reason not to trust her actions, but that the way she's talking to her friends could give people the wrong impression about her. Try to explain that sex and sex talk should be for adults, and kids her age are too young to understand the possible dangers that can come from talking or acting naughty. If you haven't had the sex talk, you should, and let her know about STD's, pregnancy, and psychological damage that she could be vulnerable to. Kids at that age don't make the connection that what they do now may affect them the rest of their lives.

Let her know it's okay to be different. That she will find people that like her even if she doesn't participate in all the dirty talk or go along with everything the "cool kids" are doing. Let her know that you will continue to trust her as long as she acts appropriately, but if she continues being "gross", then you'll have to start limiting her freedoms (take phone away, grounding, whatever your punishment is).

Cindy - posted on 10/21/2014

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Just reminded her that what ever she puts out there she cant take back. You may not approve of this new girl but talk to her about how this girl influnces her and how she feels about the text and how you feel. I know it is hard to fit in sometimes and kids want to feel accepted. Maybe this girl wasnt raised to respect herself the way your daughter was. I hope this helps.

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