1. Webcam Trolling and Children

        A study recently published online in the Telematics and Informatics journal brought to light the problems of webcam trolls and how they can victimize children on chat sites. First, let's talk about webcam trolls. Many people are likely familiar with the term troll that is often used for people who post disruptive, mean, or harmful communication on the websites or social media sites of others. It is not uncommon to see a comment in the news about some celebrity replying to a troll who posted something on their social media site that is perhaps fat shaming, sexist, racist, homophob…Read More

  2. Not All Teen Sexting is Consensual

        Last evening I was in the office with some free time as I had confused the time a client was coming in for an appointment. It was a “meant to be” moment as during that time, I had the opportunity to assist a fellow clinician with his concerns regarding an adolescent client. To keep things confidential, let’s just say the client was a young teenage man who had received sext messages from a young woman. The consultation started as a concern about mandatory reporting. In the state of Pennsylvania, this did not meet mandatory reporting criteria. However, it was a great teaching…Read More

  3. PocketGuardian: New App to Help Parents Detect Sexting and Cyberbullying

    As a clinician who is very interested in prevention, I always have my eye out for new strategies or ways to help parents be aware of what their children are doing online and on their smartphones. We all see enough news stories to know that, though not all children are sexting, a large enough number of kids are sexting, bullying and being bullied that we all need to be aware. This morning I heard about a new app developed by two dads from Maryland who both happen to be software developers. According to an interview on CBS DC, the dad's were inspired to create this app after hearing about and di…Read More

  4. Sexting, Cybersex & 7 year olds

    On March 10, 2015, the Internet Watch Foundation published a report entitled “Emerging Patterns and Trends Report #1: Youth-Produced Sexual Content.” This study was conducted from September to November 2014 by sourcing content from search engines and other online sources. The findings are a bit shocking. The images that the study assessed were broken down into two age categories. 82.5 percent of the sexual images were of adolescents age 16-20 while 17.5% were of children aged 15 or younger. The images were broken down into three categories: (A) images depicting penetrative sexual activity,…Read More

  5. SnapChat Safety Center

    News across the tech blogs yesterday informed us that Snap Chat has partnered with three non-profit safety organizations to help raise awareness of the safe use of its app. They also launched a safety center (www.snapchat.com/safety) which has sections for users as well as parents. The page is a great resource for adult users. I imagine that the teens are not going to go to the safety site to check things out. There are separate resource pages for community rules, safety and for parents and teachers. The safety section is limited. It does provide a link for setting up privacy settings and a li…Read More

  6. How to reduce your child’s chances of sexting: Lessons from Research

    Recently I wrote about a research study that suggested that we look at sexting in a new framework.  Not as a legal issue but as part of the new “normal” teen emancipation.  Not only did this study provide data to support this theory, it also brought forth some suggestions for reducing sexting in teens based on their outcomes. Teens were less likely to sext if they were not responsible for paying their own phone bill, if they had less peer interactions and if their family used texting as a means of communication.  The authors suggested two potential routes for reducing exposure to sextin…Read More

  7. Why Teens Sext: Social Emancipation through Messaging

     Sexting is in the news nearly every day.  We hear about adults getting arrested for sexting minors or minors getting in trouble for sexting each other. I have even seen news articles where parents turn their own children into the authorities when they find out they have been engaging in sexting.  Our world (or at least the media and the law) view sexting among adolescents as child pornography and a legal issue.  This view, however, does not take into account any differences between consensual and non-consensual sexting.  It also does not take into account the fact that sexting among adol…Read More

  8. Sexting and the Law

    There has been a sizeable amount of press, particularly coming out of the United Kingdom, on the legal aspects of sexting and what could or would happen to adolescents if they are caught sexting, either sending images or receiving images.  Around July 22, 2014, BBC news was full of articles relating to a case of two teens in a relationship who were questioned about an image of breasts that one teen voluntarily sent to the other.  After the couple broke up, the image was sent to friends of the boy.  After the UK police questioned the two teens, it was deemed that they had distributed an inde…Read More

  9. The New Adolescent Courtship: Who and How are Teens Sexting.

    A study recently published in the Journal of Children and Media (http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1748298.2014.923009) looked at sexting social norms as well as the relational context of sexting.  Its findings shed light on the prevalence of teen sexting as well as the differences between genders.  If you were to gather data simply from the general media reporting on teen sexting, it would be easy to conclude that teen sexting is rampant and reaching epidemic proportions.  I recently wrote about several sexting issues in two New Jersey school systems.  Though these issues garner big press when th…Read More

  10. Teen Sexting: What they don’t know can hurt them

    Last month there were several major news stories in New Jersey regarding teen sexting.  In two affluent communities in central New Jersey the school administration had to determine how to handle the possession of nude images of classmates by both high school and middle school students (http://www.nj.com/somerset/index.ssf/2014/05/bernards_kids_could_face_child_pornography_charges_for_nude_pics_of_classmates_on_phones.html).  In New Jersey (and most other states) the possession of nude images of minors is considered to be possession of child pornography, which carries extremely harsh penaltie…Read More