How to deal with sexting as a parent

Take time to watch this Ted Talk of Monica Lewinsky discussing her experience of public shaming in 1998. If you think it’s appropriate, we would encourage you to watch this with your teen children and discuss her experience and how it is relevant to the topic of sexting and the experience of young people today.

Points to consider.

The importance of empathy. Discuss with your child how important empathy is when it comes to sexting. Perhaps discuss your own thoughts around this:

  • Were you empathetic towards Monica Lewinsky in 1998?
  • How do you feel now after watching this clip?
  • Are young people in your child’s world empathetic towards others who may have become victim of a sexting scandal?
  • Are adults empathetic towards young people who may have become victim of a sexting scandal?
  • Discuss some examples of how empathy can be shown towards a young person who is involved in a sexting scandal.

“I’ve seen some very dark days in my life. It was the compassion and empathy from my family, friends, professionals and sometimes even strangers that saved me. Even empathy from one person can make a difference.”
Monica Lewinsky
Discuss the perspective of the victim.

Discuss what it must have felt like to be Monica Lewinski after the news of her affair became public. Consider how this relates to a young person who has had a nude image of themselves circulated. How does this affect them immediately, in the short-term and in the long-term? How could sending a nude pic become a dangerous situation for someone that you know?

Discuss the perspective of a perpetrator.

  • Why do people sometimes say hateful things about other people online?
  • Why do they do this?
  • Why do people sometimes circulate private images of another person?
  • What are the consequences of this?

Discuss the perspective of the bystander.

  • What is the responsibility of someone who receives a nude image of someone that wasn’t intended for them?
  • What should that person do with that image?
  • How could they respond to the person who sent the image?
  • How could they respond to the person who is photographed in the image? Discuss the opportunity to show kindness to someone who is in a difficult situation.
  • Is kindness always appropriate?

This exercise is not about educating your child. This is an opportunity to build a line of communication between you and your child. Take time to hear their opinion and consider your own perspective carefully. Guide them towards a perspective of empathy and towards an understanding of the consequences that can sometimes be involved when it comes to sexting.



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