Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My 13 year old daughter sent nude photos to her boyfriend!

Knowledgeability Clarity of Response Politeness 
10                       10                           10
Comment: thank you very much for your feedback. we appreciate your timeliness in your response.

Questioner: Marie

Subject: 13 y.o. daughter sent nude photos to boyfriend on the computer

Question: what is the most appropriate discipline for this? also what duration of time should the discipline last?

Answer: Dear Marie:

Well how did she get nude photos of herself? Did she pay money for these pictures? Did she take them herself?

The answers to these questions relate to the consequences for abusing her privileges. It would be appropriate to remove her access to the computer and any photo equipment until she is older. A 13 year old girl sending nude photos is pretty serious. It means she does not understand the gravity of using the Internet first of all. Secondly, it is pretty scary to think what could happen to her if a sexual predator found her.

You have the ability to put parental controls in place on the computer. I would suggest she not be on the computer for a week and then with only limited access and most certainly only when an adult is present to monitor her activities until she is older.

This is not something which I would give her an opportunity to repeat. It is not about punishment and any discipline needs to be on the part of the adults in her life. You will need to be disciplined in your ability to monitor her activities online. She is not old enough to unlimited access to a computer.

Best Wishes!

M Kay Keller
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: our daughter had a girlfriend over for the day while we were at work and they made a thoughtless decision to take nude photos of themselves and send them to their boyfriends. fortunately the parent of the boy saw the photos and notified us. we have grounded our daughter for one month which is to include no phone; no going places with friends; no computer except supervised school work; no access to photo equipment. we have had many long discussions about the danger of what they did; Internet safety; & self esteem/respect for themselves. we will not allow friends over or for our daughter to go to friends houses without adult supervision for a long while. do you think it is appropriate to take away school dances, movies, fun nites at the bowling alley with friends???

it comes down to how much do you take away and for how long. we understand that this is up to us as parents however we would appreciate guidance with regard to just how much is reasonable to take away. we have had some very in-depth and beneficial conversations with her regarding. her safety is our greatest concern.

Answer: Dear Marie:

In my opinion the consequences need to fit the behavior. I don't mean to offend you but it sounds like you have gone on to overkill with the punishments. I do not believe punishments are effective and research indicates this as well.

As for all the other restrictions realize she did not go out and kill someone by driving drunk, she has not committed a felony or stolen etc.....taking as much away as you suggest could do damage your relationship with her by creating way to much anger and resentment.

What I do believe is a proportional response to the act. They made dumb and dangerous choices. I would monitor the computer (as you said) and the photo equipment at least until she is 16 and even then it needs to be earned back slowly. Realize a 13 year old should not have had unmonitored access to a computer....put those parental controls in place. Add a password on the system so it doesn't matter whether or not you are there to monitor her access and keep in in place regardless of how inconvenient it maybe.

You asked if all this was reasonable and it is not. She will know it is unfair and unreasonable. Teach her how to handle her mistakes by taking responsibility for her actions and living with the consequences of losing her access to technology. That is a valuable lesson taught. As well as showing her compassion for having made a dumb mistake and that life does not have to be so punitive.

Best Wishes!



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  2. AnonymousJune 06, 2012

    I hate to correct you but she DID commit a felony. By producing child porn, plus distributing to someone plus just possessing the photos is a federal crime. my 13 year old daughter not only took and distributed photos but she took video as well. A sheriff explained it to her and us.

  3. Child porn laws were intended to keep adults from taking sexual pictures of children and exploiting children. She took pictures of herself. It was definitely not a good idea however it is an action which demands perspective on the part of the parent dealing with her actions. She needs to deal with her own actions and doing so by natural consequences of losing options is enough. Punitiveness is never a good idea and the research does not support punitive reactions. Going into overkill only rips on the relationship. Which is more important being right or keeping the relationship intact?