If you think your teen has never sexted, you could be mistaken.
Investigator Daphne Treece, who works at the Huntsville Police Department’s Special Victims Unit, says sexting is happening more than parents realize.
“No parent has come to me saying we believe that our child did this,” said Treece. “It’s only after they’ve been shown the pictures and shown the evidence– they think I never thought my child would do that.”
She says it’s an issue here in Huntsville among middle and high schoolers, especially as technology continues to advance.
Here’s a common situation she’s seen with sexting:
“Naked pictures– they might be boyfriend and girlfriend and then one gets mad at the other and then shows it or disseminates it, and then before the day at school is out, everybody has got it,” said Treece.
In Alabama, those 17 and under are juveniles. Sexting in that age range is what concerns Investigator Treece. So what happens if someone 17 or under willingly sends a nude photo to someone else?
“They’ve produced and disseminated child pornography, so they are victims and offenders at the same time,” she said.
Each image is its own charge.
“If you have 27 images on your phone, then each of those 27 will hold its own sentence,” said Treece.
At least two cases of teens sexting, she says, devastated the teens involved.
“A couple of the cases they’ve disclosed that they have tried to commit suicide. It’s traumatizing for them.”
Treece has a message for parents.
“Be active in your children’s lives. Take their phones.”
She also advises to be aware of secret apps, where teens may be hiding photos and conversations — like the fake calculator app.
“There are hidden apps — like Live Me, and online gaming apps where you can break off and have internet communication with other people,” said Treece.
Click here for a guide on how parents can make their kids’ cell phones safer.