Teenagers Sending Sex Via Text Message
Local Kids Use Cell Phones To Take, Send Naked Pictures
4029 TV (US), October 30, 2008
ROGERS, Ark. -- Kids, with their cell phones, taking naked pictures of themselves and their friends, and forwarding them to everyone they know. It may sound far-fetched, but chances are, it's happening at a middle school near you.
The problem has been growing nationally, and 4029 wanted to find out whether cell phones were being used to send and receive naked pictures of underage kids in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley. The answer was a definitive yes.
Reporters found several eighth-graders in one local city who said they regularly send and receive nude pictures on their cell phones.
Girls and boys alike said the trend of taking naked pictures on their cell phones and sending them to friends and classmates is well-known in the halls of middle and high schools.
When asked whether they had ever taken naked pictures of themselves and sent them to their friends, one girl admitted she had.
We asked the group if they thought they were a little young to be engaging in this kind of activity. They said they thought they were too young but added that the reason many kids send naked pictures is that the pictures are funny and that it was fun to send and receive those images.
Weimer is immersed in the world of 13- and 14-year-olds. But even he said he's amazed that students in the seventh and eighth grades could be trading nude photos with each other using their cell phones.
Weimer added that it's not only wrong, it's illegal.
Lingle Middle School maintains a strict cell phone policy. But Weimer's hands are tied in one respect: Police can't look through cell phones without a warrant. That leaves police looking elsewhere for a solution.
Michael has a 12-year-old son and a 14-year-old daughter, both of whom have cell phones. But they don't have cameras, and he controls who is able to call them. Michael said all parents need to exercise that sort of supervision.
Clearly, some parents aren't taking that advice. One of the eighth-grade boys said his parents aren't allowed to look at his cell phone. Others in the group agreed.
And the eighth-graders said, try as some parents might, the sexual texting will continue.
In the last few months, several criminal cases have emerged from this kind of activity elsewhere in the country.
A 15-year-old girl in Ohio is facing felony charges and may have to register as a sex offender after allegedly sending naked pictures of herself from her cell phone. The same goes for a 17-year-old boy in Wisconsin and a 16-year-old boy in Utah. One incident in Colorado even involved a 6-year-old. All of those cases are being handled in juvenile courts.
School officials said they plan to be more vigilant with students who bring cell phones to class. But they added their efforts are doomed to failure if parents don't become more proactive in checking exactly what their kids are doing with their cell phones.