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talking with a teen daughter about the dangers of texting

This post takes a bit of a departure from our normal content - focused on adult couples. However, the topic and teens being trained on how to have safe and appropriate online communication is something that is very important to Heather and I. With the rise of smartphones, your kids may find themselves in hot water over inappropriate text messages. This isn't just an old guy wringing his hands - depending on the study, between 20 and 60% of American teens have sent a sext - though peers believe that 90% of their friends have participated in this type of activity. It's a startling fact that mean behavior and hurtful texts increase the chances of cyberbullying among teens.

This blog aims to equip you with essential tips on teaching your children how to avoid risky texting habits, ensuring they maintain respectful online communication always. Ready for safer texting tales? Let's dive in!


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Understanding the Risks of Texting and Sexting

Texting and sexting pose various risks that parents should be aware of when teaching their kids about responsible digital behavior.

Potential for misunderstandings

Text messages can be tricky and cause big mix-ups. A text sent by your child might not seem clear to the person receiving it, which could lead to fights or hurt feelings.

Your kids need to know that what they send on their mobile phones might be seen differently by others. It is hard for people to get the tone of a message right when reading texts.

Talk with your kids about this risk of texting and sexting.

Inappropriate content

Inappropriate content can upset or harm a child. Naughty pictures and wrong words are part of this content. Your child might see these things but not tell you about it. They may feel shame, confusion, or fear.

Bad stuff on the internet is often hard to dodge.

Your job as parents is to watch out for risks like this one. Teach your kids what's right and wrong to look at online. Make sure they know that some people use the web to hurt others with bad images and cruel words.

Use online tools to check what your kids do on the web. This helps keep them safe from harmful content and other threats like cyberbullying and online predators.


Cyberbullying is a big risk that comes with texting. It is the most common danger for teens online. What makes it worse than normal bullying is its high level of intensity. Cyberbullies don't just stay in schools or parks, they come into your home through the internet.

They use texts, emails, games and even blogs to hurt others. Through these means, they can spread harmful pictures and mean wordsharmful pictures and mean words about someone else. So, it's important to talk to kids about cyberbullying so they know how serious it is.

Stranger danger

It's important to teach your children about stranger danger when it comes to texting and sexting. Online predators can pretend to be someone they're not, so kids need to be cautious.

Make sure they understand that people online may not always tell the truth, and that they should never share personal information with strangers. Teach them how to recognize signs of potential danger and encourage them to come to you if they ever feel uncomfortable or threatened while texting or using social media.

Educating your children about stranger awareness can help protect their online safety.

Teach Your Kids the Importance of Respecting Others

Teach your kids to use respectful language and avoid hurtful or mean messages. Help them understand the impact of their words and encourage them not to respond to hurtful messages.

Use respectful language

Teach your kids to use polite and kind words when texting.

  • Encourage them to think before sending a message.
  • Remind them that words can hurt others, so it's important to be careful with what they say.
  • Teach them the importance of expressing their feelings in a respectful way.
  • Show them examples of how they can phrase things differently to avoid sounding rude or mean.
  • Help them understand that being respectful online is just as important as being respectful in person.

Avoid hurtful or mean messages

Teaching your kids to avoid sending hurtful or mean messages is crucial. Here are some important tips:

  1. Teach your kids the importance of kindness: Explain to them that being respectful and kind is always the right thing to do.
  2. Encourage empathy: Help your children understand how their words can affect others by putting themselves in someone else's shoes.
  3. Set clear expectations: Make it known that sending hurtful or mean messages is not acceptable behavior, online or offline.
  4. Discuss consequences: Talk about the potential consequences of cyberbullying and how it can harm others emotionally.
  5. Monitor their communication: Keep an eye on your children's text messages and online interactions to ensure they are not engaging in hurtful behavior.
  6. Encourage open communication: Create a safe space for your kids to talk to you about any concerns or issues they may be facing online.
  7. Lead by example: Show your children what it means to communicate respectfully and kindly, both in person and through digital channels.

Don't respond to hurtful messages

Teaching your kids not to respond to hurtful messages is important. Here's what you can do:

  • Talk to your kids about the importance of not responding to hurtful messages.
  • Encourage them to ignore or delete hurtful messages instead of engaging with the sender.
  • Remind them that responding to hurtful messages may escalate the situation and lead to more problems.
  • Teach your kids that it's okay to seek help from a trusted adult if they receive hurtful messages.
  • Empower them by letting them know that they have control over how they react to negative communication.

Setting Expectations in Texting: Fantasies Vs Planning Real-life Romantic Action

Setting expectations in texting is crucial for distinguishing between fantasies and planning real-life romantic actions. It's important to understand that what may seem exciting or harmless in the virtual world can have consequences in reality.

When it comes to married couples, having open and honest conversations about boundaries and expectations regarding texting can help maintain a healthy relationship.

One key aspect of setting expectations is understanding the difference between fantasy and reality. While it's natural to have fantasies and flirtatious exchanges with your partner through text messages, it's essential to ensure that both parties are on the same page.

Communication is crucial here – openly discuss your desires, preferences, and boundaries with each other. This helps avoid misunderstandings or unintentionally crossing any lines.

Another aspect of setting expectations is planning for real-life actions. Texting can be a platform for making plans, expressing love or affection, sharing intimate moments through words or pictures, but it should never replace actual face-to-face interactions.

Use texting as a tool to enhance your connection with your spouse but remember that direct communication plays an equally important role in maintaining emotional closeness.

By discussing these expectations together as a couple and establishing clear guidelines about what is acceptable and respectful behavior in texts, you can reduce the chances of misunderstandings or hurt feelings while fostering trust and harmony in your relationship.

Monitoring Your Child's Texting

Monitor who your child is communicating with, check for excessive texting, and talk to them about the dangers of sexting.

Know who they are communicating with

It is important for parents to know who their child is communicating with through texting. By monitoring your child's texts, you can ensure their safety on smartphones. This means keeping an eye on their location, apps, and online activity.

Parental control and internet monitoring can help prevent potential online dangers. So make sure to stay involved in your child's texting habits to keep them safe.

Check for excessive texting

It's important for parents to keep an eye out for excessive texting by their children. Excessive texting can be a sign that something is not right, like inappropriate messages or even sexting.

By monitoring your child's texting habits, you can prevent them from getting into trouble and ensure their safety online. Remember to talk openly with your child about the dangers of sexting and emphasize the importance of treating others with respect online.

Keeping communication lines open will help you stay connected and protect your child from cyberbullying or other harmful situations. Stay vigilant!

Talk to them about the dangers of sexting

It's important to have a conversation with your kids about the dangers of sexting. Sexting means sending or receiving sexual messages, images, or videos using electronic devices. It can lead to risky behaviors like drug and alcohol use and engaging in unsafe sexual activities.

When talking to your kids about this, stay calm and approach the topic non-judgmentally. Understand the circumstances that led to the incident and discuss the potential consequences.

By discussing these dangers openly, you can help them make better choices when it comes to texting and online interactions.

Creating a Household Plan for Social Media Use

Set clear rules and expectations for social media usage, actively monitor your child's online activity, and foster open communication to ensure their safety online. Read more for practical tips on creating a household plan for social media use.

Set rules and expectations

To help teach your kids how to avoid getting in trouble with inappropriate text messages, it's important to set rules and expectations. Here are some guidelines for setting those rules:

  1. Use the AAP's family media plan tool to create a plan around social media use in your household.
  2. Establish clear standards for acceptable online behavior and communication.
  3. Discuss the importance of digital citizenship and the potential consequences of inappropriate texting.
  4. Set limits on screen time and establish boundaries for when and where phones can be used.
  5. Talk openly about privacy settings and the importance of protecting personal information online.
  6. Consider using parental controls or content filters to monitor and regulate your child's phone usage.
  7. Encourage open communication with your child about their online activities, so they feel comfortable coming to you with any concerns or questions.

Monitor their social media usage

Make sure to monitor your kids' social media use. Apps and programs are available that can help you do this. These tools can tell you if they're using inappropriate language or sharing risky photos.

Monitoring their social media activity is important for their safety and to prevent them from getting involved in harmful behavior. It's also good to remember that social media can have a negative impact on teenagers' mental health, leading to anxiety and low self-esteem.

By keeping tabs on their social media usage, you can ensure they're engaging responsibly online and provide support when needed.

Encourage open communication

Open communication is an essential part of keeping your children safe when it comes to their online behavior. By encouraging open communication, you can create a safe space for them to talk about any problems or concerns they may have while using social media and texting.

Make sure your children know that they can come to you with any issues they encounter online, whether it's cyberbullying, inappropriate messages, or anything else that makes them feel uncomfortable.

Providing guidance, emotional support, and reassurance will help foster a strong parent-child relationship and ensure their well-being in the digital world. Collaborating with teachers on this topic can also be beneficial in providing appropriate guidance and ensuring responsible use of social media for the benefit of youth.


Teaching your kids to avoid trouble with inappropriate text messages is crucial for their safety and well-being. By setting expectations, monitoring their texting habits, and promoting respectful communication, you can help them navigate the online world responsibly.

Remember to have an open dialogue about the risks of sexting and cyberbullying, and create a household plan for social media use. With these tips, you can empower your children to make smart choices and protect themselves online.

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Before leaving the world of therapeutic recreation to help her husband James start a marketing agency, she was a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist who worked with a variety of patients to help them maintain and restore physical, mental, and emotional well-being through a variety of treatment techniques that involve focusing on recreation, social skills, and creativity to make her patients lives better.

Since then, she has also built a travel agency business leveraging those same principles to help her clients find the perfect vacation experiences. Now, she contributes her knowledge and experience here too, sharing her expertise in social interaction, travel, leisure, and relationships to help those in our CouplePlaces community.