My Daughter is Sending Inappropriate Pictures, What Should I Do? 

Finding out your daughter is sending inappropriate pictures is distressful. In fact, it’s a situation no parent ever hopes to face. Yet, it’s becoming a common trap in today’s digital age. 

But how should you deal with it?

Well, firstly, you need to be calm and handle this situation with utmost care. Besides that, there are some genuine steps you can take to address the problem with compassion and effectiveness. At a quick glance, here’s what you should do: 

  • Talk to your child with compassion and understanding. 
  • Take effective action
  • Deal practically with the aftermath.

This article will explore these steps in detail, understanding how you should ideally deal with this delicate situation. So, without further ado, let’s get started. 

How Common is This Situation?

With some or other new trends circulating among teenagers, sharing explicit texts, videos, and images has become quite a common thing. In fact, it is increasing at a high rate. This is despite all the legal and ethical issues with these trends!

Here are some shocking statistics pointing to the prevalence of sexting: 

  • According to 2018 research, teenage sexting has become increasingly common, with as many as 60% of teens undertaking this practice. 
  • According to another survey done on 656 high school students, it was found that 40.5% of teenage male and 30.6% of female teens had received inappropriate pictures.
  • A 2021 study found that 19.3% of teens have sent a sext, and 14.5% forwarded a sext (image or video) without consent. The study also showed that, generally, Females receive more inappropriate text, images, or videos than males. 
  • Teens themselves estimate that around 90% of their peers participate in sexting, pointing out its normalization among older adolescents.
  • Moreover, exposure to online pornography plays a role in normalizing such behavior among teens. According to Common Sense Media research (2023) found that 73% of teens aged 13-17 have seen pornography online, with more than half (54%) reporting seeing it by age 13.
  • Reports also indicate a significant number of teenage girls engaging in sexting, with 40% admitting to doing so as a joke, 34% doing it to feel sexy, and about 12% doing it under pressure. These statistics emphasize the need for comprehensive sex education and support.
  • However, it’s essential to recognize the potential consequences of sexting, as 12% of teens who engage in this behavior report regretting it afterward. This data works as a powerful reminder of the potential side effects of sexting. It points out the fact that even though sexting may look like a harmless activity, it can have serious repercussions. 

Top 3 Things to Do if Your Daughter Is Sending Inappropriate Pictures. 

1. Talk to Your Child with Compassion and Understanding. 

Having an open and honest conversation with your daughter is the first step towards resolving the issue. Rather than resorting to punishment immediately, approach her with empathy and a willingness to listen.

Here are some steps to go through this sensitive discussion:

(i) Address the Situation:

  • Discuss the Situation: When you find your daughter sharing inappropriate pictures, the first thing to do is not panic. You need to initiate a calm, friendly conversation about the situation with your daughter. Avoid jumping to conclusions or passing judgment. Instead, ask open-ended questions to understand her perspective and feelings.
  • Avoid Shame: This is very important. As a parent, you may feel disappointed about this activity, but it’s essential to avoid shaming your daughter. Understand that her actions do not define her as a person. Instead of criticizing, express concern and focus on finding solutions together.
  • Understand the Reasons: Try to understand the reasons behind her actions. Was she pressured into it, or did she willingly participate? By asking open-ended questions, actively listening, and understanding, you can gain insights into her motivations and address any underlying issues.

(ii) Understanding and Explaining the Impact:

  • Psychological Effects: Understanding that your daughter may be feeling humiliated, uneasy, or ashamed. Offer support and reassurance, emphasize that you are here to understand their point of view, and support them through any challenging time.
  • Legal Ramifications: It’s important to discuss the legal implications of sharing explicit photos online, especially if your daughter is under 18. Help her understand the seriousness of the situation and consult with legal experts if necessary.
  • Long-Term Repercussions: Explain to your daughter the potential long-term consequences of her actions. Help her understand the risks associated with online behavior and the importance of making responsible choices.

(iii) Have “The Talk”:

  • If you haven’t already, take this opportunity to have an open conversation about healthy sexual activities, relationships, and online safety with your daughter. 
  • Be honest, explain genuine and age-appropriate concepts here, and encourage her to ask questions. 
  • Discuss the prevalence of sexting among youth and educate her about healthy boundaries.

2. Take Immediate and Effective Action

Taking immediate and effective action in this situation is very important. Here’s what you can do:

(i) Delete the Pictures from Your Daughter’s Devices:

  • Start by deleting the photos from your daughter’s devices, including her phone, computer, and tablet.
  • Ensure she deletes them from everywhere, but I suggest you avoid seeing the photos yourself. This will save you both from further embarrassment and discomfort.
  • Also, consider the cloud databases that still hold the picture and make sure your child deletes it from her ‘Recently Deleted’ album as well.

(ii) Try to get the Picture Deleted from Anyone Else’s Devices: 

  • Next, identify the recipients of the photos and request that they delete them. 
  • Also, enquire if the recipient has circulated the picture further and to whom. Contact further if necessary. This may involve uncomfortable conversations, but protecting your daughter from further harm is crucial.
  • You can also encourage your daughter to talk to the recipients and ask them to delete the picture, explaining the legal repercussions of not doing so. 
  • If the recipients are not willing to cooperate, you will need to involve their parents. Sometimes, the adults need to step in, especially in case of bullying and peer pressure. Remember to be calm and handle the conversation with the recipient’s parent without anger. You can explain you are only looking to protect the children involved.
  • Lastly, in the case your daughter has sent the inappropriate images to an adult, you should get the police involved immediately.

(iii) Find How Far the Pictures Have Spread and Remove Them: 

  • Sometimes, situations such as this may circulate out of hand. So, you may need to go into the depths.
  • Investigate the extent of dissemination and do everything you can to remove the photos from the internet. 
  • You can use search engines and reverse image searches to locate and report any instances of the images online.
  • Start by searching online for the images.
  • If you find them on websites or social media, report them to the site admins. Tell them it’s child pornography, so they take it seriously. If they don’t remove it, consider involving the police.
  • Find out how far the materials have spread. Discover if the photos were shared, stolen, hacked, or sent to someone who is not cooperating.
  • To check how far the images have spread, you can also google your child’s name and nickname to see what shows up.
  • Use Google Images to do a reverse search. Go to Google Images and select the camera icon in the search bar. Select “Search by image” and upload the photo to see if it appears elsewhere online.

(iv) Consider if You Should Inform the School

  • While involving the school may help in certain cases, carefully consider whether it’s necessary. Consult with school counselors or authorities to understand their policies on sexting and then make an informed decision.

(v) Consider if You Should Involve the Police:

  • If the situation escalates, such as harassment or blackmail, involving law enforcement may be necessary. Additionally, if adults are involved or if your daughter is being pressured, contact the police immediately.

(vi) Find out if Sending Nudes Is a Crime:

  • Familiarize yourself with the legal implications of teen sexting in your state. Understanding the potential legal consequences is essential for protecting your daughter and moving through the situation appropriately.

3. Deal Practically with the Aftermath

After handling a challenging situation like sexting, it’s important to address the aftermath practically and supportively. Here are some steps to guide you through this process:

(i) Make space for Healthy Sexual Conversations: 

  • Encourage open discussions about healthy sexuality with your teen. Instead of just focusing on the negative aspects, create a safe space for them to express their thoughts and questions. 
  • Make them calmly understand the importance of choices and boundaries in sexual interactions. This will help them to make informed decisions.

(ii) Seek Professional Guidance: 

  • If you are concerned about your teen’s well-being or the impact of sexting on their mental health, consider scheduling a session with a therapist. 
  • They can provide valuable insights and support designed particularly to your teen’s needs. 
  • Don’t hesitate to reach out. Getting professional help in such a situation is nothing to be ashamed of. Remember, you are just seeking help to build healthy habits and ensure the best for your child. 

(iii) Establish Boundaries: 

  • While you do not need to be aggressive about the situation, handling it with a firm stand is necessary. 
  • You can consider setting clear limits around your teen’s online and phone activities, especially regarding social media and texting. 
  • Consider implementing rules such as no electronics after a specific time in the evening or restricting access to certain features on their devices. 
  • By setting boundaries, you can help mitigate potential risks and create a safer digital environment for your teen.

(iv) Practice Self-Care: 

  • Dealing with the aftermath of sexting can be emotionally challenging for you as well. It’s essential to prioritize your well-being during this time. 
  • I would highly recommend finding healthy coping mechanisms such as taking regular walks, journaling, or practicing meditation to manage stress and process your emotions effectively. 
  • If you find it difficult to cope, don’t hesitate to seek support from a therapist or consider family therapy to navigate this journey together.

Remember, your child is growing up in a highly changing world. They are not necessarily wrong, maybe just misguided. So, it is important to handle such situations with compassion and understanding for your child’s well-being and safety. 


Q1. What to do when my child sends an inappropriate picture?

Ans. Ans. Firstly, stay calm. Then you can begin by talking to your child, making them calmly understand the situation and the potential consequences it can bring. You should offer support. Remember, they are probably just misguided and will need help and advice, not criticism.

Q2. What is considered an inappropriate picture of a child?

Ans. Ans. An inappropriate picture of a child is any image that depicts explicit content, exploits, abuses, or endangers a minor.

Q3. Is sexting common in Teens?

Ans. Sexting is fairly common among teens, but it’s not necessarily normal or healthy. In fact, one study indicates 19.3% of teens have sent a sext, and 34.8% have received one

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Lynda Mayer

Lynda Mayer, LPCC, an alumnus of the University of Minnesota with a master's degree in Clinical Psychology, is a seasoned licensed professional clinical counselor. With over a decade of experience in counseling, she specializes in adolescent mental health. Lynda actively shares her extensive knowledge and insights through writing, contributing significantly to the field of psychology and mental well-being. Her work not only demonstrates her expertise but also her commitment to improving adolescent mental health outcomes.

About BlockerX

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