Technology can be a great thing, but it can also be incredibly dangerous to your kids' physical and emotional safety. With the rise of apps like Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, cyberbullying and "sexting" are becoming more and more popular.
To protect your children (specifically your daughters) from the dangers of this new phenomenon, here are five texts your child needs to know about:
1. "If you don't do this, I'm going to ..."
Unfortunately, online blackmail is all too common. Someone could say "If you don't go out with me, I'm going to post that embarrassing picture of you on Twitter," and your daughter might give in to the threat instead of being embarrassed online. This is also common on Snapchat, where people can catch embarrassing or demeaning footage in a photo or video and share it with hundreds of people.
Teach your daughter to act with grace and dignity, and to think about what she's saying before she sends it. A good rule to live by is to avoid sending anything you wouldn't want another person to see. Whether it's a questionable picture or gossip, it can always be publicly posted.
2. "Send nudes"
Boyfriends, classmates and others asking your daughter for nude photos is alarmingly common. In an Australian study called "Don't Send Me That Pic," research revealed that "81 percent of girls believe it's unacceptable for boyfriends to ask for explicit content although they believe pressure to do so is now commonplace."
The study also revealed that 51 percent of the participants believe that girls are pressured into sending explicit photos, and seven out of ten people believe that girls experience cyberbullying and harassment.
Make sure your daughter knows she should never send anything she's uncomfortable with. If someone is pressuring her to send things like that, it's important for her to know she shouldn't put up with it.
3. "Let's meet up in a private place"
This message is dangerous, especially if your daughter isn't very familiar with the person she's texting. Yes, it can be innocent in some cases, but it's so much better to be on the safe side than to wind up in a dangerous situation.
When your daughter starts to date and text more people, let her know that this type of text isn't normal, and will probably get her into a situation she isn't comfortable with. Tell her how important it is to meet people in public, especially at the beginning of the relationship or friendship.
Recently, a 20-year-old girl was found guilty for involuntary manslaughter. Her texts were discovered on her late boyfriend's phone after he took his life. A court of law decided her texts encouraged him to commit suicide.
It was a chilling situation that showed the damage that can be done through digital communication. Michelle Carter knew her boyfriend was having suicidal thoughts, and she should have gotten him help instead of encouraging him to take his own life.
If your daughter ever receives texts that concern suicidal thoughts, even if they could be taken as a joke, let her know she needs to tell someone.
5. Revenge pornography
Revenge pornography has been a rising trend where people post explicit photos of ex-lovers, ex-friends or any intimate photo they have of someone without their consent. There are pornography websites completely dedicated to the awful trend.
Stress to your daughter the importance of keeping her intimate life private - even letting a trusted boyfriend access can come back to bite her.
Texting isn't about little heart and smiley face emojis anymore; there are some dangerous situations that can be created through your child's screens. While you shouldn't be afraid to let your daughter text and have relationships, you should definitely make sure she knows the warning signs and potential dangers that could happen if she's not careful.
Lindsey loves traveling and shopping, and her favorite place in the whole world is Disneyland. She also loves spending time with her family and cute husband. She is studying Professional and Technical Writing and is part of the content team for FamilyShare.