Reputation Changer Exhorts Parents to Talk Frankly About Sexting

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With the summer season approaching, it is more important than ever for parents to talk with their kids about sexting, Reputation Changer warns.

Sexting is still a fairly recent phenomenon, but the reluctance and embarrassment that parents often feel when it comes time to talk about sex with their children is nothing new; according to Reputation Changer, though, there has never been a more critical time for parents to talk to their kids openly and honestly about sexting and other kinds of sexually-provocative exchanges, via phone and computer. As recently as March of this year, a rape case from Steubenville, Ohio won national headlines, with an incident of sexting lying at the heart of the case. Now, with summer approaching—and more and more kids finding themselves out of school, bored, and unsupervised—Reputation Changer says it is urgent for parents to make the sexting conversation a priority.

“Here is our standpoint regarding sexting,” comments Reputation Changer president and CEO Michael Zammuto. “You are your child’s parent offline, so you need to be the parent online, as well, involving yourselves in the decisions your kids are making on their phones and on the Internet. No parent wants to find that his or her child is engaging in sexual activity over the Web, or sending out potentially compromising photos—and parental involvement can go a long way toward keeping kids on the straight-and-narrow.”

Zammuto says the consequences of sexting can prove dire—something he says is exemplified by the Steubenville case. “It’s not just that sexting is so closely intertwined with cyber-bullying, though, or even that there have been cases of sexting leading to rape,” he remarks. “Something else that should concern parents is the fact that, on the Internet, everything is forever. If your kids are posting compromising photos or embarrassing exchanges—even privately—that information is out there, on the Internet, indefinitely. There is no way to reel it back in, and no telling when it could resurface in your child’s future.”

According to Reputation Changer, there are several tips parents should follow as they think about talking to their kids about sexting. The first and most important step, Zammuto says, is simply being willing to have the conversation. “This is not a topic on which parents can afford to be timid, or to take a hands-off approach,” he states. “It is imperative to decide to talk to your kids, and then to follow through with a candid conversation about sex and technology.”

Zammuto says another way for parents to watch out for their kids is to gain first-hand technological experience. “If you know that your child spends hours every day on Facebook, then you cannot risk being the parent who knows nothing about Facebook,” Zammuto says. “Get a profile and become friends with your kids.”

Reputation Changer also recommends that parents consider the message kids are getting from recent celebrity scandals and to ask their kids directly about their technology use. “Ask the question point blank: ‘What did you do on the Internet today?’ Ask who they’ve been texting with. Ask these questions every day, not to be nosy, but to keep the lines of communication open,” offers Zammuto. “You can also make this a two-way conversation, sharing with your kids about your own life on Facebook and other social media sites.”

It is not just kids who parents should be talking to, but other parents, as well. “If you have friends whose kids are a similar age, ask them about their children’s social media, computer, and cell phone use,” Zammuto advises. “Ask how they’ve talked to their kids about sexting, too—what works, what doesn’t.”

Zammuto finishes by saying that candor and transparency are always the best policies. “Talking with kids about something as serious as sexting is a challenge, no doubt, but being honest and open with them about sex, about bullying, about gossip, and about the importance of maintaining a clean online reputation is something parents should prioritize,” the Reputation Changer president concludes.


Founded in 2009 by a team of direst response marketing pioneers, Reputation Changer reviews the online reputation monitoring, management, and defense needs of clients from across the world. Reputation Changer is devoted to helping businesses and people to seize control over the way they are presented on the Web, and to helping clients protect themselves against acts of online defamation. The company’s client list includes Fortune 100 brands, mom and pop stores, small business start-ups, colleges and universities, and even government agencies. Additionally, the company lends it services to public figures, politicians, and celebrities, as well as everyday citizens and lay people.

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Michael Zammuto
Reputation Changer, Inc.
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