Sexting Trauma – Read this Month’s Redbook Article

October 24, 2011

A new article  by Sandy M. Fernández for Redbook provides excellent insight into a sexting incident’s long-term impact on a young girl. Covering a three year time period, the article delves into the life of a young girl who felt pressured into sexting, and the emotional, legal, and educational aftermath.

Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of the article:

Sexting Trauma: “I Was Naked Out in the World”

“Can I have a video?”

When the message flashed on then-13-year-old Taylor Sullivan’s* cell-phone screen late on a Saturday night in February 2009, she didn’t understand the question. It was midnight, and Taylor…. was in her pajamas, watching That’s So Raven and texting a boy from school, a class clown type who, she hoped, “might want to be my boyfriend.” She’d never dated anyone before.

“Video of what?” she typed. Everyone else in the house had gone to bed. But Taylor — kept awake by the pinging messages — had come back to the living room.

“You stripping,” came the answer.

Taylor’s immediate response was “No, no way.” …. Taylor had friends who’d sent some, … She had even tested out a couple shots herself. She knew the risks: Guys rarely kept these to themselves. Still, she liked this boy. And he swore it would be just between the two of them. “I didn’t know what to do,” Taylor says. “So I’d say, ‘I don’t know. I don’t feel good about this.’ And he’d be like, ‘Please?'”

It’s two years later, and we’re sitting on the back porch….. read more on

It’s a thoughtful article that should be read not only by every parent but by every teen as it helps take a topic that is often discussed very 2-dimentionally and brings forward the complexities of dealing with the aftermath as the sender/victim, among friends, at school, and at home.   I am honored to have been interviewed for this article, and help drive greater awareness of the issues rather than the sensationalism that frequently accompanies these stories.

What’s missing from the article are suggestions for how to help your child build up defenses so they don’t feel pressured to send sexual images or video, what to do  if they already have sent images of themselves to others, and how you as a parent need to support your child through this kind of event. To learn more about these aspects of dealing with sexting see my blogs: