The Three S's:
Sextortion, Sexual Consent, Spiking
Here are some important things which you should discuss with your child before they leave the nest. TWC did a whole episode just on coercion, consent and consequences. Roxy & Gay Longworth wrote an incredible book on this topic called 'When You Lose It', covering their experience from different perspectives as mother and daughter.
Available on Amazon here (TWC do not benefit from books sold via this link).
Sextortion (and Coercion)
Sextortion is a type of cyber extortion. It involves the threat of having sexual information, images or clips shared. It is a discussion that we Gen X parents didn’t have with our parents and therefore many of us are totally oblivious of what is going on in our teenager's and young adults' lives. But don’t be naive and think your child is too smart to do something which is now so normalized. Discuss the dangers with them and make sure they know you will be there to support them if they become prey to sextortion.
'Sextortion’ as a crime is a growing trend, treated with a national campaign by the FBI in the United States - and a conversation that really needs to be had between parent and child before starting secondary school or university. Kids are committing suicide after being targeted by organised crime gangs who pose as ‘friends’ through gaming apps and social media, gradually gaining trust before swiftly resorting to blackmail and extortion once explicit images are shared. The threats against kids make them think there is no where to turn to - and that more damage might happen to family, friends, school if they open up.
Have the conversation - at least let them know they can turn to you for absolutely anything.
18,000 cases of sextortion reported in USA in 2021, likely many many more
60% of children in the UK have been asked for a sexual image or video of themselves (source: Lucy Faithfull Foundation).
Sexual consent can be another uncomfortable conversation but it needs to be had. From STD’s and unwanted pregnancies to ‘no meaning no’. If their partner is unable to say yes or never gives actual consent, then it is not acceptable to proceed. Both partners need to say yes to what is happening and being drunk is no excuse.
Awkward as it is, maybe ask if they are clear on protection methods, should they choose to have sex.
Useful resource from Rape Crisis here.
Drink spiking is when someone puts drugs or alcohol into your drink without you knowing. It is an issue which everyone should be aware of to help those affected by it, avoid and stop it. To read a separate TWC article on spiking click here.