It's a disturbing and growing trend that your teen could be participating in that could not only ruin their reputation, but put them in jail.
Teenagers are snapping nude photos with things like cell phones, and then emailing or text messaging them to other people. And it’s all being done parents knowing until it's too late.
Cases with headlines like this are popping up all over the United States.
This one is in New York where a 17-year-old was sentenced to 10 years probation after girls age 11 to 14 sent him nude pictures, and he admittedly circulated them. Some of them hit the internet, others were burned onto DVDs and sold.
It’s a troubling trend that teens are realizing the consequences of a little too late.
Daphne, N.Y. Police Lieutenant Judson Beedy says "Possession of child porn is possession of child porn, no matter if it's a minor that is in possession of it or not and if they are sending it and showing it to other people that is a crime."
Another example is a case in Wisconsin, where pictures of a 16 year old were posted on a social networking site.
“In this particular case and in most of the cases police are seeing, the young girl took the pictures from a cell phone. Where it's very easy to just click and send without much thought,or much of a trace for parents to find out,” WiredSafety.org founder Perry Aftab says.
“I think we have to start putting some control back into the parents’ hands. If you are going to buy a phone with video, then look at what they are posting, what pictures they are doing.”
Despite watching your teen carefully, it can still be tough to track this type of activity, so experts recommend talking to your teen to make sure they realize the ramifications of what could happen should they take these pictures in the first place. Remind them they can never be sure where the pictures will end up.
Second, ask them to think of the future. If they should get out, how will it harm them later on down the road?
Finally, make it clear that if they post pictures of someone else, their actions could come with criminal consequences.
Aftab says, "The kids passing them are being charged with child porn. -- Very serious charge. Serious consequences."
If you find that nude pictures of your teen have been posted online, Knoxville’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force suggests that you document everything you possibly can, then notify local law enforcement, and also the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
For more information on how to do this, visit the Hot Key.