Is sexting a form of emotional need? | Portsmouth High School

Is sexting a form of emotional need?

Much has been written recently about the ever increasing problem of young people sending each other inappropriately revealing images of themselves, often totally undressed, otherwise known as sexting.

Certain celebrities boast about their exchanged nude photographs and it becomes all too easy for teenagers (and others) to be drawn into the belief that everyone is doing it and therefore it somehow is acceptable.

Many of you reading this probably think quite rightly that your daughters would never be so silly as to be tricked into sharing saucy photographs of themselves but it can be so easy to fall into the trap of “you show me yours and I’ll show you mine” across a virtual world where you don’t even need to meet. The Daily Telegraph reported that children as young as seven have been caught sexting.

The psychologist Rachel Melville-Thomas observes that young people send sexual photographs to each other in a bid to gain attention and therefore they are attention needing rather than attention seeking. She sees sexting as


a self-esteem issue and I think this goes a long way to explain why anyone would “sext”. Furthermore it is only too easy to do. In the not so distant past it would have been a long-winded faff to take a racy photograph from finding a camera, finishing the film, taking the film to be developed and having the money to pay for expensive film processing and so on during which time without doubt interest is lost or at least there is time to reflect on any proposed action and change your mind. In the instant world of the Internet in which our children socialise that time to think does not exist.

We need to encourage our children to stop and consider the consequences of their actions. If sexting is a form of emotional need then we need to identify those at risk and help them find the pause button. In school the girls are taught about the dangers of the Internet and within this topic sexting is covered. However, we all must keep repeating the anti-sexting message and be vigilant to protect our children. They need to know well the message “don’t post today something you regret tomorrow”.