I take a breath and stop myself. She and the parents she wants me to speak to are scared. They’ve seen the pictures of a lovely, young woman who took her own life, and they are thinking of their own loved ones. They see a technology that they will always be hopelessly behind at utilizing. Most of what they’ve heard has fanned the flames of that fear. I can hear it echoing in this woman’s tone and her choice of language. And, I’m glad she called.
I have a chance to replace the sound bytes and blurry images with facts and research. I will make a case to parents to get to know their kids better and not have knee-jerk reaction that lead to conflict. I have the chance to talk about teenagers and sexual behavior as natural and not essentially destructive. I have the opportunity to help parents empathize with their children and use this as an opportunity to start a conversation, not a lecture.
“Yes,” I said. “I will make sure to cover ‘sexting.’”