A young girl’s best friend wants to send a sexually explicit image to a guy she likes. She wonders what she can say or do as a friend?
My best friend has told me she is planning to send a sexual image of herself to a boy she likes at school in the hope he may ask her out. She says everyone else is doing it, so what’s the big deal?
I’m a bit concerned. What advice should I give her?
There are many “big deals” about sexting. First, your friend needs to know there are legal ramifications to sending sexual images of herself. If she is under the age of 18 and sends a sexual picture of herself, she could be arrested for distributing child pornography.
Second, it’s likely the picture will be seen by many more people than just the guy she likes. Ask her why she thinks she needs to send him a sexual pic to get him to ask her out. Tell her about all the other wonderful characteristics she has that he would like. If she starts off a relationship in a sexual way, there is nowhere else for it to go. Is she prepared to have a sexual relationship with him when she doesn’t even know if he is interested in her?
Let your friend know that colleges and future potential employers might even see the pic if the boy sends it out on social media. Ask your friend if she is prepared to have it affect her reputation, even if she doesn’t do anything sexually. Does she want to be known as the girl who sent the picture? Encourage your friend to pause and think about why she wants to send this picture.
Play the tape forward. So if she sends him the picture, what could happen next? Maybe he’ll say, “Ooh, she’s hot. I want to get with her” and then text her to set up a booty call. Or maybe he’ll say, “Wow, what is this girl thinking? Wait til my friends see this!” and then he sends it to two friends and they show their friends, and so on and so on. Her reputation could be destroyed and her life forever changed.
Make sure your friend knows that one picture, which takes less than a few seconds to take and send, holds the power to change her life forever. If you don’t feel comfortable telling all of this to her, make up a scenario about what happened to someone else you know who sent a pic to a guy. Sometimes it makes it easier to give advice if it doesn’t make the other person get defensive and feel as though they are being attacked.
You’re a good friend to worry about your friend’s actions.
Signed, Dr. Strober
Dr. Benna Strober is a child/adolescent psychologist in private practice in Mount Kisco, N.Y. She assists individuals to work through their difficulties, find healthy coping strategies and make smart choices.
Category: KEEPING FRIENDS