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Parents and teens, do you know about your state's teen sexting laws?

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Parents and teens, do you know about your state's teen sexting laws?

As technology changes, so do the conversations surrounding how to properly use it. If you're looking for an easy way to monitor your teens, our sponsor WebWatcher has the solution.

Talks about sex have also had to change as the generation of smartphones among teenagers has led to the rise of both “sexting” - sending and receiving text messages and images with a sexual twist - and the laws against it.

If you're a parent of a young and inexperienced individual who could unwittingly damage their future and other people's due to their impulsive behavior, you're always on pins and needles. Their behaviors often have ramifications that could even get them in trouble with the law.

What are sexting laws?

The way the law is written in some jurisdictions, if one teenager sends another a nude photo, it may technically be child pornography under the laws of a specific state, even if both parties are of the same age and consent to receive the photographs. State legislators, while acknowledging that sexting is an issue, are generally working to rewrite the law so that teenage mistakes are treated differently from human trafficking.

Still, this communicates the degree of concern parents should have about this issue. These laws are far more important to understand than you might think, for the health and safety of your kids.

With WebWatcher, you'll be able to monitor, and ultimately through doing so, protect your kids and teens from the dangers of the internet.

What do sexting laws cover?

While it varies from state to state, sexting laws usually differentiate between sending the text and receiving the text, and how the justice system views the situation will depend on the content of the text. Harmless flirting over texts won’t fall under the law, but sexually explicit texts might.

You can even be aware of what your teen does by installing the WebWatcher app on their iOS or Android devices to observe their activities on the go. All activities can be monitored discretely from your secure online account.

Sexting laws also increasing cover so-called “revenge porn,” where intimate messages are deliberately posted in public places to harass or humiliate their subject. Intent doesn’t matter, either: A teenager attempting to cyberbully one of their classmates by posting the images on a locker would be in just as much legal trouble as someone posting them to a website.

By installing WebWatcher on their Mac or Windows desktop computer as well, you can monitor their activities and help to identify risky behavior from your teen. All data recorded is sent to a secure web-based account which allows you to monitor remotely from any internet connected devices.

How do I discuss the subject of sexting?

Really, there’s no perfect approach to this topic, but with these sensitive issues, it’s best to start with some common ground and why you’re concerned. Don't come off too strong but genuinely connect with your teen and express the consequences of putting it all out there.

Sexting is just one piece of a larger discussion about sexuality and appropriate behavior in both public and private spaces, online and offline. The law can be one angle discussing this risk; after all, nobody wants to be in jail. But more importantly, you should lay out that you care, and that you want the best for them.

Being a responsible parent by using a service like WebWatcher allows you to help guide your young adults by protecting them from the dangers of online predators, cyberbullying, suicide, sexting, inappropriate behavior, and drug and alcohol abuse issues.

Your kids should know they can come to you with questions about sex and intimacy and being as comfortable as possible in doing so.

Of course, not all teens will come to their parents with their questions, and if you’re concerned that your teen may be engaging in risky behavior online, WebWatcher can help. To learn more, go to www.webwatcher.com/kim

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