Reports indicate Anthony Weiner has been knowingly sexting with a minor, a 15-year-old high school girl. While sexting may unfortunately be the new normal for youth and adults alike, adults sexting with minor children is a crime. Weiner’s compulsive sexting behavior has already cost him his promising political career, his marriage, his family, and now, may result in criminal charges.
This latest story provides yet another teachable moment for parents to communicate with their children the negative consequences and dangers of sexting. Parents must become good cyber-parents and the first line of defense to protect their kids from all dangers online including online predation, pornography and cyberbullying. Implementing non-technical measures such as knowing your child’s online activities combined with implementing parental controls including monitoring might well have prevented this young girl from sexually exploitation.
Bottom line caution. Sexual exploitation is a real and pose danger. No child is immune. This is why online safety is the fourth leading health concern in United States and sexting is ranked sixth.
Donna Rice-Hughes, is president of Enough is Enough, a national bipartisan non-profit organization who has led the fight to make the Internet safer for children and families since 1994. EIE’s efforts are focused on combating Internet p*rnography, child p*rnography, sexual predation, and cyberbullying by incorporating a three-pronged prevention strategy with shared responsibilities between the public, Corporate America, and the legal community.