Niall Mulrine

TECHNOLOGY: How to respond to your child sexting

What is it about doing bad things that people like to repeat over and over again?

The act of sexting is one of these acts that are repeated a lot within the youth brigade. But that does not say the adults are unaware of how it’s done either.
Adults were young once too and know of some of the things kids like getting up to, but there is a little confusion on the changes how the devilment is carried out.

With the increase on reliance on internet connected devices, the opportunities of badness is greater. But what can parents do if they suspect their child sexting?


Open dialogue between parents and children are always essential to approach any subject, even one as delicate as sexting.

Explain to the child the precautions that should be taken before or during an incident they are part of or know of.

Knowledge and experiences of similar cases will relate this information easier. Don’t forget, once it goes into Cyber world, it’s hard to get back. Before you text or post an image online, follow this mantra; Think, Think and Think again.

A few steps to help you with your child if involved in Sexting

As mentioned above, the art of communication is imperative in these situations.
At the best of times the children don’t like to disclose what they do online, let alone the details of how they bared their body in some images that are making their way around the net or on the mobile phones of their peers.

Try and leave the door always open for your child to come to you.

Do not react when your child is disclosing these details. They cannot be judged at this moment when they are in extreme emotional pain and anxiety.


Remember, they are coming to you for support and love, because you’re their parents.

Reassure that the child is still a good person and you love them very much. Let them know you are here to support them over this time and always.
Discuss a plan that you as a family will take to rectify the situation. Talk about possibility of getting the local gardai and schools involved if it has crept into school.

Go to the source of who posted the image (if known) or send the message originally and ask how many people have got it?

Try tracing these people to ask them to refrain from forwarding. This will only work in the early stages.

Ask each person to delete the image or message immediately and to ask their friends to do the same.

If people are sending back abusive texts, instant messages, emails etc ask your child to refrain from replying. This only adds more fuel to the fire and it gives other people freedom to think they can harass your already frail child.
If abuse is occurring on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, ASK.FM and others, please either deactivate the accounts or delete them.
Contact some of the helplines below if more help is needed emotionally for you and your child. Remember your child is not a bad person and is unlike any other child the same age.

Children like to explore and try something to see what may happen. Same when you and I were younger. We were told not to jump that wall as it’s too high, but we knew we could so we ignored the warning and went ahead!!! It’s similar now only there is technology involved.

Helpline contact numbers

(Depression support organisation)
72 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2 Helpline: Locall 1890 303 302 (24 Hours)
Contact: ISPCC Head Office
20 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.
Childline Freephone: 1800 666 666
ISPCC Telephone: 01-679 4944
Gay Switchboard- Dublin
A voluntary body which operates a number of services to help those with issues relating to their sexuality.
Carmichael House
North Brunswick Street
Dublin 7
Telephone: 01-872 1055
Fax: 01-873 5737
(A mental health organisation which helps people who have suffered, or are suffering, from mental health problems)
Head Office:
6 Forrest Mews, Forrest Road, Swords, Co. Dublin
Telephone: 1890 474 474

Telephone: 01-872 7700
Area Helpline Callsave: 1850 609 090
Samaritans  (Sligo )               071 917 0329
Samaritans (Letterkenny)           074 912 7273
Samaritans (N Ireland)               048 712 65511
Child Abuse Prevention Programme (CAPP)
01 620 6347
Childline (ISPCC)
(helpline) 1800 666 666
Bullying Helpline
(day) 0502 61666/(night) 0502 20598

Alcoholics Anonymous
01-453 8998
Donegal Teen Parents Support Programme
Ballybofey, Letterkenny, Inishowen 074 9190141

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