I need to talk to them about sexting - how? Help please

(70 Posts)
TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 28-Jan-13 14:18:41


I looked in my dd's diary yesterday - not proud, very ashamed, wish I hadn't but maybe it's for the best. Her boyfriend (they are ELEVEN) has sent her some dubious messages and photos - without going into too much detail, it's not on. It is unclear what she's sent him, if anything, but I'm worried.

Things now click into place - she's started closing her door at night when she used to like it open, she has her iPod touch with her at all times, she hides the screen from anyone else in the room. I thought she was just growing up, but I now think it's probably not so innocent.

This is a child who's always been terribly earnest and innocent - I am utterly taken aback, and I feel very conscious of having let her down and not covered this properly. Her sister is older, but having just been googling recent articles and statistics on this, I think she probably needs the talk too.

However, I can't kick off by saying I've read her diary - I know some might say I should, but I'm not going to. But I do obviously need to talk to her. I'm thinking - and hoping it won't be too transparent - of saying I heard a thing on Woman's Hour about this and that it made me think I ought to speak to them about it: do they know what sexting is, do they know how serious.... etc.

What do you reckon?
I don't need to be told I've been getting this wrong - I know. I'm ashamed and very concerned, and now I want to do whatever is best.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 28-Jan-13 14:33:07

anyone else dealt with anything remotely similar....?

deleted203 Mon 28-Jan-13 14:38:36

Oh Golly....I don't know if I've got any advice, but just to say I've read and sympathise. Umm...is it possible to sit her down and say that you are concerned she and her 'bf' are getting too intense and that 11 is really too young to be dating. I'm too old to really understand an iPod touch (thought you just downloaded music onto it?) but is it a phone, also? Can you tell her that you will be keeping the iPod after, say, 9.00pm at night (or whatever bedtime it) as she needs to be sleeping then, not contacting people. The idea that you have access to it at certain times might be enough to stop her sending/receiving sexts.

Tortington Mon 28-Jan-13 14:40:03

yeah, i'd keep the phone at 9pm - great idea.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 28-Jan-13 14:43:20

Thank you both.

yes, an iPod touch is essentially like a little iPad, so you can go on facebook and any sort of internet chatting as long as you have WiFi. I would very much like to take it off her at 9, though this may be difficult to implement without also taking dd1s off her, but she uses it for the alarm, and will also probably query why the sudden ban!

Actually, we have long had a 'no screens' rule in the living room between 8 and 9, to prevent evenings where everyone is sitting texting/facebooking/mumsnetting. Perhaps I had the wrong priority, and need to trade that for phones at bedtime or somerhing.

Or bring in a household rule that wireless is off after 9pm.

They'll be talking about these things in PSHE (or whatever it's called now) but I would personally bring it up with her at home. Have a talk about relationships generally, very open and frank, and find out what she knows. Talk to her about pornography on the Internet (again, in as much detail as you feel comfortable) and how this can skew perceptions of sex in relationships. From there you can discuss how newer "social" media has caused problems - talk to her about the age of consent and how this can blur those lines sometimes, but how, for example, underage girls taking pictures of themselves/others and sharing them is classed as distribution of child pornography.

If you're really concerned and unsure as to how to proceed, I think the nspcc give advice on protective behaviours.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 28-Jan-13 15:04:46

Thank you Mimsy. I did wonder about just turning wireless off, yes. No more mumsnet in the evening would be a small price to pay... the problem is how to proceed without it being obvious that this isn't just an abstract, theoretical concern.

Fuck, I am out of my depth sad

She is extremely young for this but you do need to talk.How about a mythical scenario as a conversation opener " my friend has a DD your age and she was .....insert inappropriate behaviour..... ".

Ok turning wi fi off would help in a way but it doesn't solve the problem, merely limits the time of day. They don't just do this stuff after 9pm.
If you don't want her on the phone or whatever after 9pm then tell her.
Check up.
Have consequences.
She needs to know what the boundaries are and what will happen if she crosses them. Let her know that you are going to check her phone, ipod, browsing history and that she must give you access in return for being allowed to have those things.

OhMerGerd Tue 29-Jan-13 00:51:19

First up she's 11. Not 16 or 18 or even anyteen but 11. You should not be worried to check her ipod and discuss it with her. You have to tell her you have seen the images, set some rules for use and stick to them. iPods are an iPhone without calls. But they can text/ message and use FaceTime etc so you need to be firm about supervised use of all equipment.
She needs a bit of a reality check to make her understand that the content is not private and potentially accessible to everyone including her parents and teachers granny etc so that the talk you are going to have with her and other DC hits home.
I'd also tell the boys mum. Quietly calmly and non accusatory. The children have been swapping pictures. I've found some compromising ones of your son which are being destroyed. I would appreciate it if you could talk to your son and do the same.
To dd I would Say, . I am very embarrassed for insert boys name because I have seen the pictures he has sent you and it's possible that other people will have seen them too. His mum is checking his phones and computers to see what he has sent and if there are any pictures that have been sent to him so she can destroy them before they get into the wrong hands. Don't accuse her. If she has sent any she is likely to be mortified and possibly get upset and confess. Either way I'd use the opportunity to explain why sending sexual pictured is a problem, but also comfort her, say me And boys mum are going to help you both with this mistake for these reasons and that it must never happen again. You don't want her to feel as though there is no way back from this.
Then you need to start having the series of talks, chats and q&a that you were expecting to have in 5 years. The difference between like, lust and love. Grooming, Sex, contraception societal attitudes and why ee hxve laws on age of consent, paedophilia, keeping safe.
She has not lost all innocence and this does need to be age appropriate but don't be shocked if she knows more than you thought she might.
And the gadgets have parental controls set on them. They go off at 8 for an 11 year old. There is no need for her to take the iPod to school or use it in a room alone. If the screen can't be seen it's when in use it's confiscated. Falling asleep as I
Type , so good night and all the best .

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 09:13:41

I'm very aware that she's 11, believe me.

Anyway, I have spoken to her - not confronted her, but I saw her switch windows quickly from facebook to something else when I came near and said this concerned me, and then told her about all the stuff in the news lately and how careful you need to be that anything you receive as a message, or send, can be very serious, and that it's important not to send anything you wouldn't want your parents, your school, all your friends or indeed the police to see etc, and what the consequences can be.

I won't speak to his mother - I don't know anything about her or how she is likely to respond, so I think this could be a risky move. I have emailed the form tutor and told her that I thought she should be aware that some year 7s were sending inappropriate messages and that I felt school ought to be informed of this. Waiting on a reply.

sashh Tue 29-Jan-13 09:19:32

How about telling them you have come across things on here about sexting and you want to talk to both of them about it and the effects on their future.

And just to add one thing.

I kept a diary at that age, I knew it was being read, I wrote things to shock / upset the reader.

Is there much of an age difference between your DD1 and your 11yr old? It's fine to have different rules for different ages you know, but I agree time limiting won't stop the problem.

Hopefully as you have now had a chat with her about it she will be thinking about it more. I think my main focuses would be that it's more than okay to not partake by saying not comfortable, and that things posted/texted/messaged are then out there forever and can be potentially seen by all and sundry.

11 years old. shock It's scary isn't it!?! My DS is only 8 so I still have all this to come.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 09:39:50

Well I feel scummy now but I have just logged into her facebook and read her messages.

He is saying things to her which are not appropriate - but she is saying she loves him, and asking him for pictures - not sexual pictures, just 'send me a nice photo'. SOme of these requests are being met with topless pictures of him with his pants showing, and requests in turn from him for pictures back.

She is also waiting until we are asleep and then skyping him. And she said yesterday 'my mum just had an embarrassing talk to me about what I send in messages', after which nothing much except 'looooooove you xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx' until late at night.

I am struggling wiht how she's actually feeling about this - she is obviously into him in a big way, and it's very difficult to reconcile this with what I 'know' about her.

I think I do have to get the iPod off her before bedtime - but I think this will result in big kicking off and she will surely work out that I've been checking up.

specialsubject Tue 29-Jan-13 09:40:29

phones can easily be confiscated overnight and should be. buy them an alarm clock.

sexting at 11?? shock

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 09:50:48

Yes, don't worry, I'm doing the shock face myself plenty.

This is a bloody minefield, and has happened so quickly. She was a very 'little' girl until recently, into Sticker Dolly Dressing and scrapbooks. She started puberty much earlier than her sister, started her periods in July and just seems to be way ahead of anything I was ready for. We thought the iPod was a great present; she used it for music and games and it made her really happy: I had not foreseen that she was at this stage at all.

I need to explain that she can't have it at night, however difficult the conversation. But that doesn't make it easy, at all.

Theas18 Tue 29-Jan-13 09:56:58

Sorry this is happening and is so unpleasant, but I fear this is an "I'm the adult your the child" moment.

She has a lot of unsupervised net access. Is this leading to serious problems with inappropriate behaviour bordering on the " possession of indecent images" . TBH I think ipods/phones with mum by 9pm is a minimum for an 11yr old. Personally at that age all net access was on shared PC/laptop in the lounge. My 13yr old (14 in may) has just got un supervised daytime net access but we still have her tablet at bed time. This sort of thing applied until 15 with the older kids.

Also check her photos on her phone. does she have internet on that ? My 13 and 17yr olds don't...

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 10:02:37

She has a PAYG phone which does have a camera but is rarely topped up: the iPod does almost everything she could use it for, and that is locked with a bloody password.

I think I've been naive and stupid in seeing the iPod as more a music/media thing than a messaging and internet tool, and she's had it on about the same level as her kindle. This was obviously a massive mistake.

notso Tue 29-Jan-13 10:24:47

My DD is nearly 13 and after finding out she had been texting a boy and face-timing friends at 4 in the morning, she has to bring her phone and Ipod downstairs at 9 and doesn't get them back until she is ready for school. It was met with an almighty strop and much complaining and door slamming, but over the past few months she has accepted it.

You need to be honest and open about boyfriends, try not to show that inside you are screaming you are my baby girl I am not ready to do this!
My Mum frostily told me at 11 I was too young to like boys and have boyfriends, as a result I didn't discuss any boyfriends with her until I was about 16.
I told my DD she shouldn't be putting anything on facebook or in a text that she wouldn't feel comfortable saying to me.
We talked about having crushes on boys, I showed her a photo of one of my first boyfriends which she found hilarious! I tried to show I understood how she had feelings for boys and that it was perfectly natural but also told her I felt some of the things she was saying in texts were not appropriate for her age.
I went over the fact that anything she puts on Facebook will be there forever and said that it was easy to put online or in a text things you would never say face to face.
After two months the boy split up with her and she was really upset, but she came to me and told me about it and about how he put on FB she smelled of shit and she replied "I smell of Taylor Swifts Wonderstruck actually"grin grin
I always make a point of asking her about boys etc and was really pleased when she asked me to tell her friends mum that her daughter was going out with a boy because she thought it was better that her Mum knew!

Theas18 Tue 29-Jan-13 10:29:32

steamingnit, you know you can turn off the wifi on an ipod and PIN lock it don't you?

Stick with the P+G and watch the balance (lots suggests maybe she's sending photo messages) .

This too will pass as all phases do. You are now alert and keeping her safe. You do have to be "nosy" though. My 13yr old allows me to be nosy or at least have the right to access all her stuff, but the deal is I wont be a difficult parent unless I have too. Silliness etc is tolerated and chats with mates about embarrassing things wont be mentioned unless I think they constitute something unsafe or seriously inappropriate (eg I'd put up with swearing in messages , though I'd rather she wasn't the one doing it, but bullying /racism/sexually explicit stuff I would be concerned about).

When the older kids hit 15 and had their own laptop I didn't police that, but we have a porn blocker and I have /did have passwords etc in case I really needed them but never used them.

Reaa Tue 29-Jan-13 10:38:03

You could just make conversation and just say something along the lines of blah blah (one if your friends name) got sent a picture of this girls boobs by mistake the other day apparently this girl had sent it to her boyfriend and he thought it would be funny to sent it to some of his mates even though he had promised his girlfriend he would not, but he also got my friends number my mistake and that how she ended up with it.
Don't forget to tell your friend you are using her as a cover story.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 10:46:56

Thank you all. I've been turning over different ways of addressing this, and am planning to speak to her again tonight.

She knows I have her facebook password: when they left year 6, lots of them got facebook so they could stay in touch with people who went to different secondary schools. I've never felt the need to check on her until now, but I think I need to tell her that I have done, and am worried - even if she is furious and embarrassed and hates me for a bit.

I need to tell her she isn't to have the iPod at night, and that the business of being 11 can include liking boys, and having new feelings, and that I know she's growing up: but being 11 does not include unlimited internet access, late night conversations and photos. Even if the boy is allowed to do this, and it has come to seem like a normal thing to do.

I do need to keep her safe, and I'm going to have to take steps to do that even at the risk of making myself extremely unpopular with her.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 10:51:09

I can't concentrate on anything, I bloody hate this: this is my little girl.

Maryz Tue 29-Jan-13 10:51:18

I've tried talking about this to my otherwise sensible dd. But I've drawn a complete blank. Apparently it is normal, everyone does it shock.

I saw some messages that made my hair stand on end - real pornographic stuff, but apparently (according to her) normal boy/girl communication.

I've also tried the "you may think this is private but you don't even know if you are talking to who you think you are - all his friends might be there with him" but got nowhere. She just looks at me as though I'm 100.

She is 16 now, so I have no choice but to leave her to it. I can't check any more. But this generation of girls is going to get an awful shock when they become famous/marry someone important/get a high-powered job in a sensitive area and suddenly have their old boyfriends selling screen-shots of conversations and photographs of them in compromising positions to tabloid newspapers in years to come.


notso Tue 29-Jan-13 10:58:34

She will roll out the old "everyone else is allowed", can you talk to any friends Parents about what they are/aren't allowed?
Mercifully DD's best friends Mum and I still see each other on the playground and we have very similar opinions on things so much so we coordinated giving permission to open a FB account and have a TV in the bedroom (for DVD's only).
Also be vigilant for her opening a new FB account in a different name, I have noticed a few of DD's FB friends have one account where they are friends with their parents and one in another name where they are not.

I think all the parents buying their 3 year old tablets etc should read threads like this, the IPod touch was the worst thing we ever bought for DD.

MoodyDidIt Tue 29-Jan-13 11:01:26

omg no real advice i am afraid OP but i have read this in saddened horror - am only 33 but fgs when i was 11 it was so much more innocent sad 11, they are just little kids sad

i have a 3 yo dd and a 6 yo ds and the thought of having to deal with this sort of stuff in just 5 or 6 years is terrifying

i feel for you, and i hope you get it sorted x

MrsMushroom Tue 29-Jan-13 11:05:34

Personally I think the first mistake you made was in allowing her to have a "Boyfriend"

No child of 11 is ready for a boyfriend and all that the title suggests. Even if it's in "name" only and they're just holding hands....allowing the relationship puts pressure on her.

I think if it were me, I would talk to her about the "boyfriend" and tell her she may have him as a friend but not as a partner in that sense.

Also, speak to her about your reasoning....you don't have to mention that you looked on her messages.

Tell her that the reason is that you feel 11 is too young for the things which come along a boyfriend...that you've heard all about sexting and that she's too young for things like that and too young for anything remotely attached to sex.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 11:07:40

MrsM have you read what notso said about her mother taking a similar approach about boyfriends? That makes a lot of sense to me.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 11:07:59

(as does everything else you say, notso - thank you)

Pourquoimoi Tue 29-Jan-13 11:08:57

I know a yr7 girl who's mum found messages saying she love a boy so much she "wanted to suck his balls dry" shock. She spoke to a teacher friend who said it was fairly standard these days but most of it was just 'talk'.

DS1 is yr7, hasn't got Facebook yet but has an ipad and Internet enabled phone. He knows that the deal is that I can check both whenever I want and I know the passwords for both.

I do check the iPad and often ask him if there is anything at all on his phone that I would be unhappy about, that prompts him to tell me everything even things like "I told whoever to piss off because they said x", if he says there is nothin on there I tend to say I trust you and won't look then. He is very honest and I do trust him, I hope that lasts.

That said, we have agreed last night that I am going to buy him an alarm clock this afternoon so that his phone and ipad come out of his room at lights out at 9.30. He is constantly being disturbed by kids texting him at 10.30 shock and is suffering with tiredness.

Good luck, I think we're ok here but it's a tricky time.

Scoobyblue Tue 29-Jan-13 11:16:55

I think that you should definitely inform the boy's parents - obviously it is up to them how they deal with it but they are probably as much in the dark as you were until a couple of days ago. If it was the other way round and you didn't know that your child was sending inappropriate messages and pictures to another child, I'm sure that you would want to made aware of it so that you could deal with it in an appropriate way. You don't have to be confrontational or accusatory, just let them know what is happening.

PuffPants Tue 29-Jan-13 11:24:55

I'm years off having to deal with this (horror) but I feel certain I would contact the boy's parents about it.

God, why do they need phones at all? I keep hoping its a phase and FB will die a death soon and schools (and parents) will ban phones before mine are that age.

At 11 I would not have let DD have private stuff on phones and FB - she is 13 now and I know that stuff goes on that I probably wouldn't like, but we have a no phones or laptops in room overnight rule which she mostly adheres to.

I found a note in her blazer pocket yesterday which left me reeling, saying she had still not really got over J and that she and M had finished after 3 months. As far as I am aware she has never had a boyfriend confused. A lot of this boyfriend stuff is all on social media, and they never actually meet up - but I have had the sexting talk with her and she claims no one at her school does it. Yeah right!

On this note it also said "Bisexual and Proud" [double] confused

I lie awake at night worrying about what the future holds for our teenagers......

notso Tue 29-Jan-13 11:32:04

TheOriginalSteamingNit I am so pleased you found my advice useful, this is a horrible stage, I would rather deal with 10 tantrumming 2 year olds than one hormonal pre-teen!
I really feel we have turned things around with DD and I think most of it has been down to reducing her screen time.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 11:38:22

I've emailed dp so we're on the same page here - headline is no more iPod after bedtime, united front, that's that.

And talk again, but in as non-confrontational way as we can, about the issues.

The thing is, she hardly uses her phone - and her iPod was initially used for listening to music, watching Stand By Me an awful lot, and playing that Rat on a Bike game - so we have obviously viewed it as far more of an innocent tool than it really is, which is our mistake. We'd never have let her take the iPad to bed, or her laptop - which she always asks if she can use first anyway! But this sodding iPod is a bit of a snake in the woods, due to our naivete and her rapid growing up in the time between getting it and now.

Notso that is very, very encouraging to hear smile

notso Tue 29-Jan-13 11:58:58

Yes definately good to have a united front on this, (my parents certainly didn't Dad was very shouty, agressive and intolerant of everything, Mum was prudish and easily broken).
Another top tip is to make friends with the 'enemy', if there are any friends girls or boys DD wants to meet in town/at the cinema etc that DH and I don't like the sound of (we check them out on DD's facebook) we always invite them round for tea or just to hang out for a couple of hours before we agree to her meeting them unsupervised, it's not always a joyful experience but it stops them becoming forbidden and exciting.

pixi2 Tue 29-Jan-13 12:11:06

I would take a slightly different approach.

Invest in hot chocolates and their favourite cake. Put the whole cake in the table. Kick everyone else out. Tv and radio off. ask them to put their phones out of reach. Say you need a girlie chat with them as the adults they are now turning into.

Start with positives, how proud you are of the people they are turning into, how you trust them, etc

State your concerns and invite them to discuss web safety. How could they protect themselves? What would/could/does make them uncomfortable. Point out that emotions are attached to relationships and sex, it isn't as straightforward as the media makes out. Go off track onto films and the media if the conversation goes that way.

Above all, keep a slice of cake on their plate at all times. Be calm, patient and listen.

Maybe you could do this every now and again. Remind them that they can talk to each other as well as you.

shine0ncrazydiamond Tue 29-Jan-13 13:02:53


I'd have her ipod and phone and laptop and whatever else off her immediately and I'd be having a strong word with her. I'd also disable her FB account - why does she have one at her age?

I agree with a previous poster. At this age it is time to assert yourself as a parent and remove the technology that is enabling her to carry on like this instead of enabling her to do it by pussy footing around her.

My DD is 15 this year. I check her FB from time to time to satisfy myself that all is as it should be. She knows I do this and I will continue to do so for a while longer. I rarely check her phone these days. I do this not because I am nosy and want to read a load of 'squeeeing' messages but because it is my job to keep her safe.

I wouldn't give a second thought to making yourself unpopular. Confiscate this stuff full stop for now.

shine0ncrazydiamond Tue 29-Jan-13 13:04:02

Pixi - that all sounds very woo and nice but it wouldn't work in this house grin My DD would think I'd gone mad.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 13:42:45

I explained earlier why she and many of her friends have facebook accounts smile.

I've also said we are removing the iPod at night, which is what she is using.

I don't think we are pussyfooting, and I hope nothing I've said suggests that I'm more worried about making myself unpopular in the short term than I am about safety. However, at the same time I think maintaining a reasonably friendly footing is worth a lot in the long term too.

MrsMushroom Tue 29-Jan-13 14:04:31

I maintain that 11 is too young for a boyfriend. no 11 year old is ready for sex or the kind of closeness that a boyfriend might want.

I also maintain that at 11, children need to be told "no" about things like this...never mind the fear of pushing them away...there's nothing that needs to be going on anyway. As long as you remain open and unafraid about broaching sex as a disccussion, they'll still come to you.

shine0ncrazydiamond Tue 29-Jan-13 14:12:51

I really wouldn't give a second thought to remaining on a friendly footing with her. That really is a given, you're her parent so you're going to have periods of unpopularity and it doesn't matter.

I'd suspend FB. I wouldn't care that all her friends have it. She can't handle it can she? She is getting herself in a pickle with stuff she cannot emotionally deal with and you need to stop that.

There would be an immediate stop putting to her having a boyfriend - at 11? Yes, fine, if it is all innocent etc...but you now know it isn't. So, tell her straight... no more boyfriends, no more ipod touch and no more FB and you'll rethink it when she is 13.

This is how I'd deal with it - although I appreciate that I can be very black and white. However, if it is any consolation my DD at nearly 15 doesn't hate me smile

MrsMushroom Tue 29-Jan-13 14:17:13

Me too shine OP it's about protecting your child. She's a child. Sex is NOT something children need to be involved in.

sununu Tue 29-Jan-13 14:30:21

can I just observe that a curfew on phone usage may not be at all effective? sexting can happen any time of day.. reminds me that our mum forbade my sister to take her boyfriend upstairs, thinking sex happens in bedrooms - they did it in the dining room with a chair under the door instead (I know, nice)

exasperatedemma Tue 29-Jan-13 14:32:07

my DD is 13 and when she got FB a couple of years ago, the condition was that she made me a 'friend'. All good as I could keep an eye on some of the stuff being posted etc, However, she barely uses it now as she and most of her friends think it is outdated and they all use Twitter. I used to worry about FB. But not as much as Twitter. Worryingly they can private message strangers if they both 'follow' each other. She assures me that she only does this with friends but there are a lot of Twitter users out there posting pics of themselves looking like a good looking teen boy and god knows who they might be in reality. As far as I know, there is no way of monitoring this - I can see what she tweets but no way of seeing the private messages. Then there's Tumblr and all the other social media websites they are on! AAARGH! I hate the fact that you can't put parental controls on Apple stuff, only very restrictive ones which are difficult to live with. I agree with Maryz, this generation are going to be horrified in their twenties when they look back at the stuff that is permanently on the net.

sandyballs Tue 29-Jan-13 14:37:32

Jeez this is interesting but scary. I have two 11 year olds girls. Both begging for Facebook but I have told them it is illegal until they are 13. I am apparently hindering their social lives by doing this as EVERYONE has Facebook at secondary school and they can't possibly make any new friends without it!

Oh well.

Boys have featured more since sept with one of them asking a lad 'out' and being 'rejected'. Not sure where they were planning to go, think its just talk of 'going out'.

I have talked about sexting briefly but they both gave the impression of having no idea what I was talking about. I'm not so sure now I've read this!

What kind of pictures were they OP? This is all so difficult, I would broach it generally, perhaps in the car where she can't get away. Good luck. They all seem older than when we were 11.

shine0ncrazydiamond Tue 29-Jan-13 14:38:25

You also say that you are very ashamed to have looked at her diary. Why? Again, you're doing your job. You are not snooping at your 17 year old DDs journal - you'd be on dodgy ground there! But your young child.

I'd assert and whip this stuff off her once and for all and brace yourself for the moaning

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 14:40:35

Nothing is 100%, is it? Ban the iPod after bedtime - they spend suspiciously long times in the bathroom with it earlier. Tell them they are simply not to have a 'boyfriend' - they take no notice and spend all day together at school anyway. Keep their fb password, be their friend on facebook, don't let them be on facebook - they create new accounts and don't tell you.

I do think you have to balance pragmatics, discipline, honesty and safety, and I do think that with some extreme reactions there's a danger that you can cultivate an atmosphere of worse secrecy and deceit than ever. I've seen it go that way too.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 14:43:53

Sorry, a few posts in the meantime.

I think she should be allowed a diary in which she can vent, in which she can say her sister is a bitch and sometimes she hates her parents, and she didn't do very well at a Maths test, and feel that it is private. I don't think though that it is as simple as me thinking 'well dd is entitled to privacy, so I wash my hands of it and don't look', any more than I think all her thoughts, feelings and indeed messages are up for grabs.

sandy haven't seen - I think his chest and some of his bits, but I can't see them.

CheeseStrawWars Tue 29-Jan-13 14:48:20

I dread DD hitting the teenage (or even pre-teenage!) years. I can't speak from experience but can you ask her why she thinks he wants these pictures? He's not going to stare lovingly into the eyes of her photo, is he? That's not what boys want topless photos for... And once he's got photos in digital form, how would she feel if those photos got seen by his mates? Or if one of his mates snatched the boys phone off him and then sent the picture round loads of other people. Has she thought this through? Does she like the idea of him - or random people - 'objectifying' her? Could you make it a broader conversation about objectification and respect, and sidle up on it that way?

Also, maybe have a chat with her about making sure things move at a pace she's happy with - it sounds like he keeps pushing for more than he's getting and she's not really dealing with it directly, just changing the subject? If she says no and he calls her frigid or whatever... he's not the boy for her. (Not that any boy should be for her at 11, but you get what I mean... boys should respect her, she should respect herself and not be afraid to say no.)

A boy was permanently excluded from a local school and several girls were suspended. Even though the activity took place outside school.
So not all schools shrug and say "it happens"

shine0ncrazydiamond Tue 29-Jan-13 16:13:23

I kind of missed the photos bit.

I would be informing the school and his parents. He sent a photo of his 'bits? ' At the age of 11? Man, I'd go nuclear!

MrsMushroom Tue 29-Jan-13 16:41:58

It is shocking and it's also potentially illegal as we're talking about children's bodies being photographed (allbeit by themselves) which is technically child pornography.

Apparently it's grey area but if you went to the school it would be taken VERY seriously indeed.

shine0ncrazydiamond Tue 29-Jan-13 18:17:27

Agree with mrsM. You must tell his parents and the school. After all, you'd want to know if you were them wouldn't you?

Maryz Tue 29-Jan-13 18:20:55

ds has just survived an incident where he was sent (unsolicited) suggestive photographs by a younger (13 year old) girl.

Luckily, he had the sense to delete them (he didn't even know who she was when he got them - she was a friend of a friend on facebook), but still got into trouble with the school for not reporting that he had received them.

Interestingly, the boys who received the photographs got more severe sanctions than the girl who had sent them (of herself). And one boy sent them on to a friend of the girl's (to prove he had them, apparently), who then sent them to a whole load of older boys (at which point the shit really hit the fan).

I found it interesting that had ds sent a naked photograph of himself to a girl it would have been an expulsion from school offence, but a girl sending one to him meant that she was "troubled" and "needed help" hmm. Which she probably does, but even so, she also needs to be told it isn't acceptable behaviour.

It might be worth pointing out to your dd that her "boyfriend" might end up on the sex offenders register for possessing child porn on his phone (that was what ds was threatened with angry, even though he deleted the photographs immediately, messaged her that he had deleted them, and blocked her from his facebook). That might make your dd think more carefully.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 29-Jan-13 18:24:34

I have informed school, as mentioned earlier. I do not know his parents. I haven't seen the photo (s), but deduce it was his chest and pants elastic above waistband. We have spoken, the iPod is banned after bedtime.

MrsMushroom Tue 29-Jan-13 19:11:07

Maryz research shows that in many instances, boys ask girls to send them pics and sometimes bully them into it. Not in ALL cases naturally but in many.

And Maryz I wouldn't worry too much about girls not receiving their just desserts for things like this....the female race is told daily that they're worthless unless they look a certain way....and also subjected to unwanted advances, verbal and sexual abuse. That's enough punishment I should think.

Maryz Tue 29-Jan-13 20:54:30

I know that, MrsMushroom. But in this case it was not the case - ds had never even spoken to the girl, and she followed up the pictures by a series of messages until he blocked her.

It isn't always the boys' fault.

But ime, the school will always take the side of the "vulnerable" girl. In ds's year the girls are a million miles ahead of the boys from a sexual point of view, many are "going out" with boys from the year ahead, and he feels very out of his depth sometimes. And yet, any incidences like this, and the boy is the one expelled.

The whole episode really upset him. He did nothing wrong, at all. And I know that, because I went through his ipod with a toothcombe, and saw all the messages from her.

The "female race" may get their just desserts hmm on average, but single incidents in schools often leave the boys very unjustly treated. There were a boy and girl (same age) caught having sex in a local school recently. Boy was expelled. Girl was sent for counselling.

MrsMushroom Tue 29-Jan-13 21:56:30

For years girls have been groped, verbally abused and belittled within schools. YEARS> There was a thread on MN once where women came on and gave stories of it...what had happened to them in school...the amount of horrible tales was astounding.

Yet many schools still refuse to take it as seriously as racial abuse. It's illegal to call someone a racially motivated hate-word but you can call me a slag any day you want.

Imo it's better to lean towards protecting the girls. They've had the shitty end of the stick for centuries.

Maryz Tue 29-Jan-13 22:14:36

Not by my son they haven't.

That is a ridiculous reason to blame boys for girls' bad behaviour shock.

And it's appalling to let girls think they can get away with what we have been trying to stop men doing for years.

MrsMushroom Tue 29-Jan-13 22:46:04

Maryz this is not about your son. You brought him into a debate. And a girl of 11 or 12 sending a nude picture to a boy is hardly equal to centuries of abuse. hmm

PuffPants Tue 29-Jan-13 23:24:54

What's your point MrsMushroom? That an 11 yr old girl sending nude photos to a boy should not be reprimanded?

Maryz Tue 29-Jan-13 23:27:16

I brought it into a debate about youngsters sending inappropriate pictures to each other. and suggested that the op could point out to her daughter that the sending (or receiving) of such photographs is looked on very dimly by schools and can be referred to as child pornography.

I also pointed out that it is worth telling girls that boys are treated much more harshly for this type of thing (in general) than girls are, and used a few true examples to illustrate my point.

At which point you inferred that it was fair enough that boys should be treated more harshly, as it was a fair punishment for centuries of abuse [baffled]. I happen to think it is not fair - the perpetrator should be punished, not the victim, regardless of gender. And that boys can (and are) "victims" of sexting, just as much as girls.

BoringSchoolChoiceNickname Tue 29-Jan-13 23:49:30

I'd find a good, memorable, true, cautionary story to tell your DD about how wrong these things can go. Strong narratives have a power that no amount of abstract lectures from Mum can match. Tulisa's little problem leaps to mind, but a) it's a bit explicit for an 11 year old and b) it's too easily dismissed by "Her mistake was that she picked a nasty boyfriend - my bf is lovely so that could never happen to me" you need a story where the bf is an idiot with poor data privacy but not obviously evil.

FlipFlopFloss Wed 30-Jan-13 00:30:48

Its so worrying all this isnt it.

My DDs 12 and 14 tell me to stop repeating myself but I tell them every horror story I hear about sexting.

Considering they roll their eyes because being 12 and 14 they know it all of course and what does ancient old mum know - they did seem a bit horrified at the suggestion that pics sent in texting could easily do the rounds at school and are out there for ever and ever and ever.

I hope the fear and potential humiliation will put them off wanting to send such pics of themselves but I darent be that naive.

I dont allow my girls to take their gadgets and phones upstairs ever.

notso Wed 30-Jan-13 13:18:51

TheOriginalSteamingNit How did the talk with DD go? Hope it wasn't too bad for you both.
Have you heard anything from the school?

Maryz I was horrified at the double standards applied in the case I posted about above. A number of girls had sent explicit pictures of themselves to this boy, he had not sent any of himself. He had encouraged it for sure and deserved to be punished but he was treated much more harshly than the girls, including threats of being put on sex offenders register.
I just feel that parents of need to warn their sons that they will take the brunt of the blame should they be stupid (or unlucky) enough to get involved in this stuff.

Maryz Wed 30-Jan-13 18:25:55

I keep telling my kids that secret. Especially in Ireland where we have the "romeo and juliet" law where if two underage kids are caught having sex, the boy can be prosecuted but the girl can't hmm.

As far as I can see, the boy will always be blamed and punished. Obviously a lot of the time the boy is to blame, but in many cases he isn't wholely at fault.

I have told dd that until she is 17, any boy she has sex with can be put on the sex offenders register - and I have warned ds2 who is 14 to remember that in Ireland sex with a girl under 17 is a crime punishable by prison, even if she is older than him.

I hate having to use scare tactics, but I fear they are the only things that will get through.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Tue 05-Feb-13 16:49:20

A little update - and thanks again for replies and help.

We told her she wasn't having the iPod any more after bedtime as concerned about lack of sleep and that it wasn't appropriate for her to have it unsupervised so much and so late. She didn't appreciate this, as you might expect, but has handed it over without a murmur every night since.

She still messages a lot, but I make a point of being around in a more visible way whilst she does - I think we now need to find the right balance between allowing for the fact that she naturally doesn't want us vetting every single thing she says, and is naturally quite a reserved and private person, and on the other hand, staying on the ball and keeping an eye.

I've checked her facebook twice since last week - first one was full of messages to him along the lines of 'I fucking hate my mum, she is sitting right there and I want to hit her' etc... today it seems all their messages are more along the lines of ' xxxxxoooooooooooooooxxxxxxxxxxxxxx did you see when Joe did that in Science, I love you no I love you more'. Of course I'd be more comfortable if it were more about Joe in Science and less lurve, but we'll cope.

School emailed, and the head of year rang this afternoon to let me know that all Year 7 had had an assembly about these issues this morning, and to ask whether I thought there were any individuals who needed a specific talk. Because I just said that I didn't want to go into detail but it had become apparent that this kind of messaging was catching on amongst the year 7s and thought they should be aware. So that's all good.

And the best thing of all is that the facebook snoop shows me that he is now also banned from using his iPod or tablet after 8.30 grin. I think perhaps his household have had a similar last week to ours....

mummytime Tue 05-Feb-13 17:16:37

At my DCs school a girl and a couple of boys were taken for questioning by the police over an exchange of photos. A little more serious than the ones your DD had exchanged OP; but you could tell your DD about this.

Schools in my experience are getting better about talking to pupils about this kind of thing (and can be a good source of information on what is going to happen next).

My kids devices are all banned from the internet after a certain time, but mine can still MN.

skyblue11 Wed 13-Feb-13 15:55:59

Maryz, I too have seen really shockingly pornographic messages that stunned me. I worry about the future of these, and some are to people she hasn't met in real life just friends of friends, it seems the norm like you say but I was mortified!

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