Wake up and smell the sexting, parents

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  • wYo8 Rock Springs, WY
    July 27, 2013 10:33 a.m.

    Brother Ben don't read the newspaper. grateful for the article. It is something that I have been doing with my six children. It has helped avoid a lot of problems. I call it limited agency.

  • pogo8702 SOUTH SALT LAKE, UT
    July 27, 2013 10:24 a.m.

    Brother Benjamin franklin.... one reason society in general and LDS in particular are in so deep right now is because of the approach you propose. As a youth teacher, HC, and 2nd counselor over youth in my ward, I cannot say enough how this article is appropriate, needed and NOT ENOUGH. This stuff destroys so fast....the legal implications alone are life-altering, as several have noted. YOU cannot hide your head in the sand. Kids need to know others are being checked on and standards enforced in more than just their own home. Parents need to hear this from as many directions as possible to get it right.

    @ FDRfan....please please please take this back to HP quorum and get it on the table. Where I am we (HP Group) talk about everything and it has helped a lot of people. If it impacts the ward members in anyway regarding the gospel .... it's appropriate. This has destroyed families from children to the grandparents.

    Never, never, never underestimate this kind of mess or minimize it. I've sat through too many disciplinary councils to say anything different.

    THANKS TO THE AUTHOR... for such candid and wise words.

  • wer South Jordan, UT
    July 25, 2013 10:51 p.m.

    I like the post.

    Trouble is, folks, too many parents just cave. Who is really running the family?

    Passing out smartphones, who-knows-what apps, etc. For what? Why not just give them the car keys and say, "May I have the car back sometime?"

  • Lasvegaspam Henderson, NV
    July 24, 2013 10:04 p.m.


    You’d like it here in Las Vegas. The line between good and evil here is very, very clear, and our stakes produce exceptionally strong youth and missionaries. C’mon down!!

  • Lasvegaspam Henderson, NV
    July 24, 2013 10:03 p.m.

    I am so sorry, FDRfan, that this topic was dissed in your High Priest Group, since I cannot imagine a better place to talk about the rigors of parenting children today, and the many ways in which the adversary seeks to destroy our children.

    I recall Dr. James Dobson (Focus on the Family) speaking of his youth in the 1950’s. He explained that it was as though he was walking down a long corridor filled with doors on each side; doors behind which were the evils of the day. He commented that those doors were shut tight, and that he was not even aware of what lay behind them.

    Conversely, he stated, today for any teenager walking down that corridor, not only are the doors flung wide open, but people stand in the doorways beckoning them to enter. And at some doorways, arms are outstretched reaching out to pull them in.

    I taught a Relief Society lesson using his imagery, and it resulted in an excellent discussion of the ways that mothers in our ward are safeguarding their children today. Can’t think of a better place for that sort of discussion to occur.

  • handshaker17 Centerville, UT
    July 24, 2013 12:58 p.m.

    @ Brother Benjamin Franklin:

    If you think a newspaper is solely for "news," you're kidding yourself. Every "news"paper has an opinion section.

    This particular "news"paper has a family section. If you didn't want to read/see this article, stay out of the family section.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 22, 2013 9:39 p.m.

    Be afraid. Very afraid. Doesn't matter about what, they just want you afraid.

  • FDRfan Sugar City, ID
    July 22, 2013 1:10 p.m.

    A couple of months back I brought this subject up in my High Pries Group and when I explained what kind of pictures were involved, I was told we should not talk of such things in church. Yes, it is a sensitive subject but there are no secrets. Our kids are seeing things without even looking.

  • swing4thefence Lehi, UT
    July 19, 2013 12:26 p.m.

    If your kids ARE going to use snapchat make sure they know that although Snapchat doesn't save the pictures you're sending, anybody using it can take a screenshot and capture what''s currently on the screen.

  • Brother Benjamin Franklin Orem, UT
    July 18, 2013 4:46 a.m.

    I think this is the wrong subject to be breaching in a newspaper article released to the public.

    If you want to put these tips out to a parenting magazine or website, fine. People have a right to their opinions, disciplinary and parenting styles, and an obligation to warn others about threats to our common values.

    But it is simply wrong to go on a rant about these things in the press. It does not help our children and teenagers have confidence in our ability to help them navigate the complexities of that difficult time to be fretting over all of the potential things that could potentially happen.

    I don't think the author has the right to be trying to dictate their parenting style to us in the media. I may have the right to ignore the story, but this is a crucial topic affecting all of us.

    I am very disappointed this author used this medium to express these concerns. I feel the information is useful, the warnings appropriate, the content very relevant and the need for parents to be involved greater than ever.

    But we need to express these warnings through things other than the newspaper.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    July 17, 2013 8:12 p.m.

    Idaho Dad - We've had the same strict rules with our kids. They grew up without their own phones until college with one exception. Two of our kids were very close in high school. When the oldest left for college we let the younger one have a phone so they could keep in touch better. We do not regret this decision as they remain close. We don't pay their phone bills however, they do - even though it's a family plan.

  • Iliketorun Flagstaff, AZ
    July 17, 2013 10:02 a.m.

    This was an interesting article. Especially being 20-years old and having 1000x the freedom I did before college.

    I swear, my parents didn't allow fb til I was 17, they got angry when I made an email at 15, and I got a phone around that time as well.
    (my older brother, thankfully, passed through almost the same rules....my sisters got everything at 11/12.)

    There /IS/ a lot of wildly inappropriate things online. I still wonder how badly it is messing with my brain. However, social media (especially since I have a mental condition that is invisible, aka aspergers)has greatly increased my ability to make friends and even date.

    Being LDS online is an especially interesting experience...given that half the people will question you, 1 quarter will hate you, and 1 quarter will ignore the fact.

    However, my friends are online...and that's something I could never give up. I would say, if they have that going on...don't try and interrupt it...because having friends....even online, is a privilege that some people don't get.

  • Idaho Dad Pocatello, ID
    July 17, 2013 8:46 a.m.

    Good article. Valid warnings.

    We're those rare, "crazy" parents whose children don't have their own mobile phones, although we recently migrated our home land line to a cell phone (basic, not smart phone) and they can take turns using that "home" phone if needed, on an occasional basis.

    Our teenagers are welcome to drive their own car but we won't purchase it for them.

    Our "poor, underprivileged" children have done just fine. The latest smart phone in the hands of a teenager or pre-teen child is not the result of a "need." Our college kids seem to have a genuine need, and we have helped them out with a phone on our family plan.

    I harbor no illusions nor delusions about the dangers of friend phones, and parenting is always required. However, I question the premise, foregone conclusion, or assumption that every child needs such a device.

  • Walt Nicholes Orem, UT
    July 16, 2013 8:54 p.m.

    What did kids do before they had cell phones with all of the apps?

    They got together and played "post office."

    And other "games."

    This is a problem with no solution other than parents doing their best and staying involved.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 16, 2013 3:42 p.m.

    Great, sensible advice all around. Good job.

  • bjkirby Raleigh, NC
    July 16, 2013 7:49 a.m.

    I enjoyed the article, and am having difficulty with a teenager as well. The cell phone, ipod, nook, and all computers have been taken away, yet the inappropriate behavior has continued to the point aunts and uncles have blocked my child from their kids FB pages for the posts being made. There are too many other avenues they use like school computers, friends phones etc... My wife and I tell our oldest to either add us as a friend or delete the page. They will add us and then create another page we are not aware of. Our child has taken devices from our room while we are not there, and later we find them in her possession and we are lied to about it.

    My philosophy is that my house I can look where I want to ensure the safety and well being of my family and to make sure there is nothing illegal in my house. If that means the kids rooms so be it. This brings on a lot of debate with my wife as she believes the children's rooms are theirs and I have no right looking in there.

  • niceguyinutah ogden, UT
    July 16, 2013 7:32 a.m.

    @crawfordzoo very true young kids do need to be educated about this i have read 3 articles about how kids are being arrested for sexting the most recent one was of an 11 year old girl for trading pictures with someone else if she is found guilty she would have to register as a sex offender so please parents do what you can to educate your kids sit down talk to them let them know that if they do this they could get into trouble be firm but be loving and let them know you care about them and there well being and safety

  • niceguyinutah ogden, UT
    July 15, 2013 11:38 p.m.

    i have read a lot of stories about young kids who have been charged with felonies just for sexting these young kids need to be educated not punished for what they are doing if we can teach our younger generation that sexting is a crime maybe things will change i have read three stories just this month about young kids who where charged with a felony because they where sexting so parents please educate your children and let them know it is wrong for them to do what there doing

  • gee-en Salt Lake City, UT
    July 15, 2013 7:23 p.m.

    As a single dad going through a divorce and a custody battle I was chided by a so-called "child expert" because I was doing some of the things mentioned in this article. To put it bluntly, I guess I was snooping around on my kids phones, text messages, social media accounts to make sure they were using them appropriately. The "child expert" seemed to frown upon this and considered me a poor father, perhaps a controlling father, for doing these kinds of things. The "child expert" frequently used her own near perfect children as examples and wondered why my kids could not be as perfect as hers and why I could not be as perfect a parent as she.
    Anyway, if you are in any kind of divorced situation with children, with a possibility of any kind of custody battle, you may or may not be looked upon as a very bad parent for following some of the advice presented in this article (depending on the attitude of the child experts involved in your case)

  • DJDorado Red Wing, MN
    July 15, 2013 4:30 p.m.

    My children are now adults with children of their own. I am glad to have seen this and I post things like this directly to them because I didn't know enough when we started cell usage to keep my 16 year old son off of one. We ended up with a $2000.00 bill in less than 2 months! We stopped letting him use the phone after this, but it took money and time to know and learn. It wasn't an ipad or ipod, it was a silly cell phone. They do not need these ipod or ipad things in order to get some of these apps. All they need is a cheap smart phone. Thanks for the info keep us updated!

  • Aggie238 Logan, UT
    July 15, 2013 4:06 p.m.

    Cont. from above: I'm not suggesting that a parent must or even should be a "friend" before being a "parent," but a little judicious use of psychology and the Golden Rule doesn't hurt either. I guess my point is, the kids are going to do what they are going to do, and you can do what you want to try and keep abreast of it, but ultimately it's going to come down to how much they RESPECT you as a parent, the things you've taught them, and themselves. They, and they alone are going to be making the choice at some point, and it's up to you to help prepare them for that moment.

  • Aggie238 Logan, UT
    July 15, 2013 4:05 p.m.

    Having been on the other end of it when I was much younger (i.e. helping buddies get around parental "restrictions"), I have to lean towards Andrew's opinion. Your kids are going to have social media. There's nothing you can do to stop it. But that doesn't mean you have to facilitate it. There's absolutely no reason for a kid or teenager to "need" a smartphone. None. And I say that as someone in technology education. I find it odd that the author doesn't allow her son a phone, but allows him to have FB, Twitter, and sundry other social media apps. One thing that the author apparently does not consider is that her belligerent attitude may actually cause some of the evasive behaviors she is trying to curtail. I can cite several instances of this occurring with friends from my youth. Cont. below:

  • A Guy With A Brain Enid, OK
    July 15, 2013 3:56 p.m.

    I'm a dad of 4 kids; 3 teens and a 10 yr old. The 3 oldest have cellphones but no internet connectivity and this article is the reason why. My wife and I added extra cellphone lines to our phone plan about 10 months ago, when the 3rd oldest was 15 1/2. The youngest one 'might' get a cellphone earlier than that but we'll see. My wife and I have had issues with inappropriate stuff with our #3 child but not via cell phone images but via texting and Facebook instead.

    My wife is the snoop in our family, though she has my support 110% on this issue. She knows our kids' Facebook account and she checks it regularly. She also checked text messages with our #3 child on his phone and he lost his text capability because of what she found and he's a "good" kid that is taken to church each week by me and his mom and is almost an Eagle in Scouts. The girl's dad is in the Stake Presidency. That was 4-5 months ago and he STILL doesn't have his text capability back.

    This article is not over the top. Fellow parents, beware.

  • crawfordzoo Barstow, CA
    July 15, 2013 3:30 p.m.

    Andrew, you are sticking your head in the sand if you think that the problems is solved by simply not giving them what they want. They will sneak, they will lie, they will borrow. My kids are basically good kids, but they did it and to a certain extend are still doing it. That is why we need to educate ourselves so we can talk to our kids and educate them.

  • Andrew American Fork, UT
    July 15, 2013 2:00 p.m.

    Do I need to hit my grandmother in the head because she has never heard of Twitter? The tone is way over the top in this article. How about we just don't give our children Ipods or Iphones? That's worked fine for me. Let's teach our children gratitude for what they have and not longing for what their peers have and do. Talk about a first world problem. Yes it is real and scary however an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. What value is being derived from exposing our children to all this technology? Yes my kids won't be the next Steve Jobs; but they also won't be corrupted by manipulators or sullied by abusive attitudes. Perhaps your willing to take that chance; but not me. They'll learn to communicate like most people by talking.

  • ahmyers San Leandro, CA
    July 15, 2013 1:22 p.m.

    This article had a lot of great info in it, but the way it was written maybe made me feel a little bit like the micro-machines guy was yelling at me.

  • crawfordzoo Barstow, CA
    July 15, 2013 1:11 p.m.

    My husband and I got phones so we could communicate in case if emergency. As we added the kids we were bombarded with requests for texting and web access. We have resisted and given them the reasons. We educate them and hope some of what we say actually sinks in. Despite our best efforts they made some bad choices using their friends' phones. And these are the "good" friends. I found out about snapchat because 14-year-old son ratted out his 18-year-old sister. Not out of spite - out of concern. Something must have sunk in.