Sunday, May 26, 2024

Teen ’sexting’ craze leading to child porn arrests in US

From Times Online

(Will Burgess/Reuters)
(Will Burgess/Reuters)

Murad Ahmed, Technology Reporter
In a new trend spreading across America, teens are sending nude or semi-nude pictures to one another on their mobile phones in a practice called “sexting”.
But what started out as risqué fun among adolescents has spread fast, and is starting to lead to serious consequences. Recently, teenagers have been arrested on child pornography charges and there have been reports of high-schoolers losing jobs or college scholarships as a result of being identified in sexually-suggestive pictures that have appeared on the internet.
Research conducted by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy last month revealed that 20 per cent of teens in the States say they have sent or posted lewd photos or video of themselves.
According to the national study, most teenagers who were sending the explicit messages were sending them to boyfriends or girlfriends, while others said they were sending the pictures in a bold move to secure a date, or to someone they had got to know online.
But a series of cases across the country have begun to emerge, where young people face arrest and prosecution for sending and receiving the obscene messages.
On Monday, six high-school students in Greensburgh, Pennsylvania were arrested on child pornography charges. Three were girls who allegedly took pictures of themselves, and were charged with manufacturing, disseminating or possessing child pornography. Three were boys from the same school who were found with explicit photos on their mobile phones by police, and were charged with possession of child pornography.
Last year, in Goshen, Ohio a 19-year-old cheerleading coach was convicted of indecency charges after taking a topless photo of herself and a 15-year-old girl.
While in Texas, a 13-year-old boy was arrested on child pornography charges in October, after receiving a nude photo of a fellow student on his mobile phone.
Jim Brown, a school officer at Glen Este High School in Ohio, told the Cincinnati Enquirer: “If I were to go through the cell phones in this building right now of 1,500 students, I would venture to say that half to two-thirds have indecent photos, either of themselves or somebody else in school.”
Mr Brown said that what started as a bit of fun was starting to have severe consequences, ranging from humiliation at school when the pictures are spread amongst students, to the loss of jobs or college scholarships after the photographs are posted on websites.
Realising this, some teens have apparently started to disguise themselves in pictures, only taking shots of body parts or being careful not to include faces. But American authorities have taken a dim view of this behaviour, in many cases seeking to charge and prosecute adolescents involved in “sexting.”
The practice is not thought to be prevalent in Britain, although some cases have emerged in the past of similarly unruly behaviour in UK schools. In 2003, two prefects at the prestigious Wellington College, were suspended after taking a secret video of a girl pupil having sex and then circulating the tape amongst friends.

Courtesy: timesonline.co.uk

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