Kallie and her brother, Ben, live with their mother, Cassy, who divorced their dad over his repeated use of pornography. Ben was fifteen and Kallie was twelve when the divorce was finalized. Like so many single parents, Cassy had to work full-time to keep the family budget afloat. When she wasn’t at work, she made an effort to do things with both her kids, making the most of the time they had together.
Kallie was very good at academics and got a fair amount of attention for her intellectual abilities. But when her body began to develop at age twelve, she started getting attention from boys because of her looks. She liked this new and “naughty” form of attention. Kallie learned to text in sexual words and slang—known as “sexting”—which only led to sexting with other peers who were sending the same inappropriate messages. As the attention gained momentum, so did the level of sexting. At one point, Kallie was texting and receiving sexual messages she didn’t even understand. The more attention she received, the more sexts she sent—it was a vicious cycle that lasted for more than a year.
Fortunately for Kallie, Cassy became suspicious after noticing a change in Kallie’s behavior and clothing choices. One evening she looked through the texts and messages on Kallie’s cell phone. When Kallie saw her mom with her phone, she was horrified and tried to physically wrestle it away from her.
By evening’s end, both Cassy and Kallie were in tears and hugging each other.
Let’s face it: PCs, laptops, smartphones, iPads, mobile devices, and the bewildering array of apps, networks, and web connections have huge implications for the way we communicate and interact with one another. It’s vital for us as parents to understand how the world of technology is affecting our kids.