A growing number of teens are ending up in serious trouble for sending racy photos with their cellphones, reports USA Today. Police have investigated more than two dozen teens in at least six states this year for sending nude images of themselves in cellphone text messages, which can bring a charge of distributing child pornography. Authorities typically are notified by parents or schools about so-called “sexting.” This week in Virginia, boys teen boys were charged with child porn offenses after an investigation found they sought nude pictures from three juveniles – one in elementary school.
“It’s absolutely becoming a bigger problem,” says Michelle Collins of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Of the 2,100 children the center has identified as victims of online porn, she says, one-fourth initially sent the images themselves. She says some did it for fun and others were tricked into it by adults they met online. “They may not realize the danger they are exposing themselves to,” says William Shaw, district attorney for Clearfield County, Pa. “When they put it online, they lose control.”