Parents and other adult caregivers of biologically or sociolegally related children (hereafter, “parents”) can play an important role in the online behavior of children in their care. In this study, we examined parental correlates of three outcomes— talking to their child about image sharing (66% yes); expecting their child had shared sexually explicit images (39% yes); and preparedness if their child’s sexually explicit images were leaked (38% yes)—in a survey of a nationally representative sample of 402 parents in the United States. Regression analyses revealed that talking to one’s child about sexually explicit image sharing was significantly associated with the parent being a mother, having a child in high school, enforcing a higher number of technology rules, knowing about secondary social media accounts, and expecting that their child’s friends share sexually explicit images of themselves. Expecting their child had sent sexually explicit images was significantly predicted by parents having fewer technology rules in place for their child, more permissive parental attitudes about resharing sexually explicit images, and the expectation that their child’s friends or schoolmates had sent sexually explicit images. Unexpectedly, perceived parental preparedness if their child’s sexually explicit images were leaked was significantly predicted by less—rather than more—parental comfort in talking to children about their child’s online activities.
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