Communities That Care: Workshop to assess teens’ sexting, social media habits

As the Internet becomes a central aspect of everyday life, concern is growing over sexual predators online and access children have to sexual material.

There also seems to be growing concern over the prevalence of sexting. And rightfully so; it seems like every time you turn on the news there is another sexting scandal. However, as a certified sex educator, I’ve realized over the years that most of the concern from parents seems misguided.

In order to prevent children from being harmed by risky internet behaviors, we need to aid them in the development of sexual and romantic competency. In other words, kids learn about sex whether or not they get comprehensive sexuality education at school, whether or not their friends are abstinent or sexually active, and whether or not a parent has had “the talk” with their child. Therefore, we need to equip them with the skills and provide the support they need to make healthy decisions online and offline.

My Straight Talk Parent Series workshop, “Teens, Sexting and Social Media,” will discuss the growing use of Internet pornography among children and how parents can protect their kids from Internet predators. At the workshop:

• We will discuss how teens use pornography on their computers, tablets and smart phones. I will provide research on how Internet pornography use affects physiological and psychological development.

• I will provide a list of social media sites and apps that teens use to build their “web presence,” exchange sexual content with each other and connect with new teens as well as new adults.

• You will learn about how and why teens sext and what you can do about it.

• You will learn how to monitor your children’s cyber-activity as well as be able to identify what you are comfortable with your kids having access to, so you can modify your monitoring to whatever degree you are comfortable with.

• You will learn how to listen so your child will talk to you about sex. It is more important (and beneficial for your child’s well-being) for you to become an approachable parent rather than become the expert sex lecturer.

• You will learn how to approach sexual conversations and integrate those conversations into everyday life.

• You will learn how to foster healthy sexuality and instill your family’s sexual values to prepare your children for the inevitable sexual experiences of their current or future lives.

With this new knowledge and a little bit of practice, you will be able to connect with your children and help them develop into sexually competent people. For more information on this topic as well as my credentials and experience, visit www.meganmaas.com.