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Teenagers are sharing porn

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I'm doing a story next week that is pretty disturbing. Welcome to the crime beat.  It's called peer to peer pornography, which is just a classy term for a very unclassy trend... that of teenagers (and younger) sending pictures of their naked private parts to other kids via cell phones.

When I interviewed the new police chief of Tulsa public schools recently, he told me he was shocked by all the pornography found on cell phones that have been confiscated from high school and middle school kids.

It takes the old "playing doctor" to a much deeper, less innocent and criminal level. It's bad enough these kids think taking and sending these pictures is totally acceptable (and, they have to know whoever they send them to are sharing them with others), but, they have no idea they are breaking the law and could actually do time.

We are going to see, in the very near future, police and district attorneys drastically clamping down on this behavior. It's already happened in other states.  A teenager was charged with felony pornography and the DA is also thinking of charging everyone who received the photo, whether they also passed it along or not.

Parents were outraged, saying the 14 year old boy didn't even know what pornography is. Maybe parents ought to be talking about that. Maybe they should be reading text messages and looking at photos and videos their child sends and receives. I'm surprised how reluctant parents are to do that and let their kids know they're doing it and will do it at any given moment. Especially, when parents are paying for these cell phones and packages.

Kids are curious and may think it's funny or exciting to see these images, but, they need to be aware it is against the law and they shouldn't be participating and they should be telling their friends too.

I realize parenting has changed, with the advent of all this technology, but, pleading ignorance for parents doesn't work any better than it does for kids. You know these things are out there and you have to believe, even your straight A student who shares everything with you, could be sucked into this type of photo sharing.

It needs to be talked about openly and honestly, before they end up facing a felony sex charge that could forever alter the life they have ahead of them. What a shame it would be for them to end up having to register as a sex offender, because they took a picture of a naked body part and sent it to a girlfriend. If the girlfriend's parents find that photo, you can bet they'll be quick to call police and demand charges.

Like everything else in our world, choices lead to consequences and kids need to be told the dire consequences for making this type of choice.

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