Your teen’s smartphone may not be as smart as you would like it to be. Teens today are presented with a world that did not exist that long ago. Giving your child a smartphone can introduce risks that you may not anticipate.

Teens At Risk

When teens open various apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, KikMeetup or even Facebook, they could be inviting predators into their lives without realizing it. This can introduce cyberbullying, sextortion, blackmail and relationships that can become lethal. Yes, that means it could threaten their safety and ultimately their life.

Recently I was interviewed by a reporter who knew of my work with adolescent girls. In the article ‘Sextortion’ of girls can make smartphone as lethal as a gun, I’m quoted:

“It’s a very vulnerable age. They need attention. They are trusting. They want to feel loved,” Maleski said. “They also may feel like they’re in an adult relationship, so they feel mature and that they can handle it.”

Open The Lines of Communication

The goal here is not to cause you panic or to take away your child’s phone out of fear. I want to encourage you to open up the lines of communication with your teen so that they are not Teens At Risk. Talk with your teen. Build their self-confidence so they don’t hide behind their phone and have the risk of being stalked by predators.

Nancy Jo Sales who wrote American Girls: Social Media And The Secret Lives Of Teenagers, said:

“Girls use social media in all kinds of ways. They use it to have friendships. They use it to be playful with each other, to make each other laugh. It’s all kinds of things to all kinds of girls. But there are these overarching trends that I think are really troubling and I think that parents especially need to become much more involved in talking with them about.”

You can click here for a full interview of Nancy Jo Sales Social Media and Teenage Girls: Not Your Mother’s Adolescence.

If you or someone you know would like more information about Kate’s work with teen girls you can reach her at  Kate Maleski, LCSW 716.880.5689 or email her at