There are several ways to send and store photos through social media sites or Apps. Many claim to be secure sites where others cannot view the videos or photos, or, are designed to remove the photo within a few minutes after it is sent. That is not always accurate.
Sexting by children is illegal and in some cases can be considered distributing child pornography by the person sending photos of themselves. Many children have sent photos believing they are secure only to see them on the Internet and other social media sites. Obviously, this can be devastating those sending the photos of themselves. It can also negatively affect their future in relation to access to college and jobs. In some cases, those involved in these law enforcement investigations could be required to register as a sex offender. Sexual predators also know how to access these photos and various sites. They will download and distribute them to other sex offenders. There have also been cases where they will make contact with the victim posing as someone they are not.
The Sheriff’s Office has given 12 informational presentations to students at various schools in Franklin County; however, parents also need to be involved. Parents need to know the various ways to send these messages and what to look for on their child’s cellphone. We have given presentations to parents but unfortunately attendance has been low. Those who have attended have commented that the presentations were very informative. Presentations for students and parents are planned for the future.
Both parents and their children should keep in mind that photos or information sent by electronic means can be accessed. Predators are constantly finding ways to enter secure sites.
Parents can periodically check the Sheriff’s Office Facebook site or contact the Sheriff’s Office for any scheduled presentation dates. No dates have been set as of this release, however; we do plan to schedule some events before the end of the school year and beginning of school this fall.