According to a Straits Times report, a survey of over 2,500 Singaporean secondary school kids has revealed that the number of those engaging in “sexting” has doubled from a year ago.
Sexting is when you exchange sexually explicit text or images through mobile picture messages, the Internet or with the use of a webcam. Young people also call it cybersex or a nudie.
The survey, which was conducted from January to May this year, found that:
“4.2 per cent of upper secondary students and 1.9 per cent of lower secondary students had sent lewd messages, photos and videos, or posted risque content via their mobile phones. This is up from 2.3 per cent and 0.8 per cent respectively last year.”
It also found out that more teenagers are now aware of sexting and what it means — 71% of upper secondary students and 53% of lower secondary students said they knew what the term meant, in comparison with 62% and 41% respectively last year.
Image source: iStock
Cause for concern
Mr Chong Ee Jay, manager of Touch Cyber Wellness, a voluntary welfare group that teaches Internet safety, explains that the trend of sexting started in the USA and the UK in 2010. He said the trend started catching on in Singapore about two years ago.
Mr Chong has expressed concern about the rise in the number of students involved in sexting, even though the majority of these cases happen within boy-girl relationships, rather than with strangers.
He says, “We tell students that there’s no guarantee of privacy for anything that is sent via tech devices, and there are consequences if the photos are leaked.”
He draws attention to a case last year when the boyfriend of a Secondary 4 girl asked her to send him nude pictures of herself, saying they were only for his own viewing.
But the boy showed the pictures to his friends, and the girl was labelled a “slut”.
As parents, there’s a limit we can shield our kids from technology, especially as they grow older — such as in the case of Stella, whose disturbing story we shared recently.
But we can do our best to educate our children on cyber-safety and the potential consequences of sharing their personal information online.
For more on sexting and valuable tips on how to prevent your child from engaging in it, read this theAsianparent article.
Parents, at what age do you think kids should have their own mobile phones? How do you make sure your children won’t engage in trends such as sexting? Do share your mummy wisdom with us by dropping a comment below.