It has been on my mind to bring up the subject of sexting with my ready-to-start middle school son. At 11, if he's old enough to get his own cell phone, I reckon he is old enough to have his first conversation on sexting with his mom. So said I to my daughter who thought its too soon to "torture the poor guy" with "your conversations". I beg to differ. Ready or not, here I come. I wait for the right moment for the first discussion on the subject. Of course, there'll be many more. Many many more. For as long as he's under my roof and even afterwards, he'll have to hear on the topic from me.

I find the opportune moment when I head out to pick my daughter from her band camp. My son asks to join me, not realizing what he'll be getting himself into. I'm happy. After all, car is my favorite place to have candid conversations with my cuties (fortunately he can't read my thoughts- there would be lot of rolling of eyes otherwise). 
I decide to be upfront with him, "I wrote a piece on having a conversation on sexting with your sister and ever since I've been meaning to have that conversation with you as well". I instantly see the "oh no" expression cross his face. Next, his eyes dart at the door and the road, as if contemplating changing his mind about joining me. Finding no escape, he braces himself for the inevitable, but of course, not without a fight. "I already know what it is, Mom. We were given a flyer about it in school. I already know I'm not supposed to be doing that." Undeterred, I say pretty much what I had told my daughter, "There was this beautiful Cincinnati teen, Jesse Logan, who had committed suicide after picture of hers that was meant for her boyfriend's eyes alone ended up being circulated around her high school. The incident had occurred in 2008, sending a shiver down the spine of every parent". I tell him that as a boy, 'not doing it' means much more than simply not texting any private content, not sharing any private content and not forwarding any private content. It also means not pressurizing any girl to text you anything private either". His response is "I know, I know, why will I? In fact, how will I, I don't even have a girl friend." Now I totally feel how much harder it is to have the conversation with my son versus my daughter. She was indifferent and had that uninterested look. He, on the other hand, has the look of can't- believe- I-am-having-this-discussion-with-my-mom. I start to wonder if I should have let my husband take it on, like he had suggested, but I wanted my son to get a woman's perspective. Next time, it'll be my husband's turn, I think. For now, I want to finish what I started, least it will remain as an awkward memory in his mind rather than a 'moral value that he imbibed that day' memory (I wish). Not letting the turmoil of my thoughts show, I continue calming, again saying what I had told my daughter, "sadly, incidents like these are happening everywhere. In this age of constant and instant communications, the expectations of intimacy is high at  every level, yes, even virtually. We hear of pic pressure- boyfriend asking/ pressurizing girlfriend for a private picture. We hear of the picture going viral upon break up. We hear of the ridicule and the humiliation that the girl is subjected to. We hear of a life lost- because someone did something simply because they could, because today's technology provides the means to". Again I hear, "I told you, I already know." I couldn't resist saying, "You think the boys who did those things didn't know?". He is silent. By now I'm almost pitying the little fellow. Ambushing him like that when he's a really nice person I know. But then I also know every mother feels that way about her son. But I'm willing to drop the conversation and give it a rest for another year probably. To my surprise, he says, "How about this? Since I already know, how about you just remind me occasionally?". "Okay", I say, eager to let him off the hook and at the same time loving this new suggestion, especially since it came from him. This is what I come up with- "once every year, around your birthday, I'm going to simply tell you to not indulge in sexting in any form- to not encourage, neither support; to not ask for, neither send". He agrees and I am content.

Until next year...