dr. janet

Keep Your Naked Selfie Covered

Written on September 12, 2014 at 5:00 am , by

We’re used to hearing celebrities bare all in interviews and watching them bare all on movie screens. But this month, when news broke of hackers using the iCloud to leak nude photos of stars like Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton, many were shocked. How did the hackers pull it off? What other information could be hacked into? Who’s at risk? Aside from the obvious concerns about such a privacy breach, however, another issue loomed. Why take a naked photo?

Maybe it’s because I don’t even like to pose for, much less share, a photo of myself in a bathing suit sans cover-up. So I can’t help but wonder why folks want naked selfies.

One group worth approaching to answer that question: teenagers. Most teens sext to maintain or ignite a relationship, or are pressured into the behavior. A recent study indicated that more than 50% of college students sent sexually explicit texts—with or without photos—as minors. (About a quarter admitted to sending sexually explicit photographs.) These numbers would indicate that among young people sexting is increasing in prevalence. In fact, it has tripled or quadrupled in some ages and categories of teens over the past five years. Boys and girls sext at the same rate, but boys forward more.

As moms and dads, we need to shift our focus to parenting in the digital age. We need to talk to our children and teens about sending pictures, receiving pictures and passing them on. We need to tell them that not everyone is doing it and cyberspace does not have a button for forgiveness. Images that are deleted can be retrieved, and pictures that are sent can be passed along.

The message to our children and teens should be clear and consistent. Do not ever post or send a naked or half-naked selfie to anyone. Ever. They should delete images that are sent to them and not forward them. I want to remind young people that there are many ways to feel good about yourself: practice kindness to others, volunteer in schools and communities, simply contribute to the common good. But keep your naked selfie covered.

Have you talked to your child about sexting? Do you think your son or daughter would ever do it? Post a comment and tell me.

Janet Taylor, MD, MPH, a mother of four, is a psychiatrist in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @drjanet. Read more of her posts here.

Got a question for Dr. Janet? Email her at askdrjanet@familycircle.com.

Why Moms Should Just Say No!

Written on November 1, 2012 at 12:23 pm , by

 

By Janet Taylor, M.D., M.P.H

As we approach the holiday season, it’s absolutely crucial that moms practice using one word: No. It doesn’t make you an obstinate toddler or the queen of mean when you turn down an invitation to a holiday party or skip some items on your kid’s Christmas list. But it does free you from jam-packed days and help you become more discerning about how you spend your time. It makes you really think about what’s important and assures your pass on what’s not. Saying “No” to one person enables you say “Yes” to another: your husband, your child, even yourself.

This month, I’m challenging you to say yes to what’s a true priority and turn down everything else. And it starts right here. Even if it’s just one thing, post a comment below and tell me what you’ll say no to this holiday season.

A mother of four, Dr. Janet is a psychiatrist in New York City and director of guest support for The Jeremy Kyle Show. Follow her on Twitter @drjanet.