OK this is another get your head out of the sand moment. This has been the month for middle school and the sexy pic. A few weeks ago it was about an 8th grader today a 6th grader. I have gotten this call a number of times from different parents and have been approached by parents with the exact same situation after my seminars. So this is more widespread than you think. Understand, that these are different kids from different communities. The one constant, they are all 6th graders.
Parents of the boys, being vigilant about monitoring their 6th grader's phone, come across a photo of a selfie of a fellow sixth grader, that is a girl, dressed in panties and a bra posing suggestively for their 11 year old sons. What to do? What to do? Apparently the boys were surprised and shocked that the girls sent the photo, after all they are only ELEVEN!!!!! But pleased, I'm sure, none the less. So this leaves the boy's parents in a quandary. Besides the obvious of deleting the photo and hoping that their sons had not forwarded the photo to anyone, the parents wondered should they call the girl's parents? I had to really think about this. My first instinct was absolutely, these are really young kids, and if it's bra and panties in 6th grade, than its full frontal nudity in 8th. Parents of these girls have got to help their girls with this. SO yes call. But then the story gets more complicated. Not knowing the parents, there was no idea of how this information might be received and dealt with. In a few instances, parents told me that the girl's family situation was dicey, and that their sons were really worried that the girl's parents would really be scary punitive to the girl and the boys didn't want to see their friend get in so much trouble. Oy the guilt that kid would have to carry.
So here is the best that I came up with. I did feel somewhat protective for the girl. I encouraged the parent to supervise their son to send a text to the girl saying this: " Hey my parents checked my phone and found your picture. They were really upset. I begged them not to call your parents, and they said that this time they won't. But don't send any more pics like this because my stupid parents are checking my phone all the time, and if i don't let them, they will take my phone away. I don't want to get you in trouble, and you should be careful about sending pictures to other boys cause their parents might not be so nice."
Here is my hope; that this girl, very early on, gets the message that sending sexy pictures is not a good idea, and this gets nipped in the bud. And now there is a plan, that if another pic shows up the boys know that the girl's parents will be called. Boys must be told not to pass on these pictures, because if they are found on other phones and they are the source, then they can get nailed for sending pornography. Make sure snap chat, snap video or vine are not on your teen's phones, this is how these photos get shared, and someone, somewhere along the line will screen shot this photo and then it can easily get out of control.
For those of you with girls. Please share this story as a cautionary tail. Let them know that parents do monitor their kid's phones. See you are NOT the only one. You get that sending sexy pics might be fun to a boy you have a crush on, but it is unsafe and you hope that there are other ways to show a boy some affection. TEACH THEM TO BAKE SOME BROWNIES!!!! It worked in my day.