"Sexting" trend hits Central Texas - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

CENTRAL TEXAS

"Sexting" trend hits Central Texas

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By Kevin Davis

COPPERAS COVE - It's called "sexting," or sending naked pictures of one's self to other people.  But if you're under 18-years old, sexting can carry a heavy punishment.

A Copperas Cove teenager was charged recently when illicit photos of the teen were discovered on a friend's phone.  According to Detective Lori Hix, the punishment for distributing naked photos can range anywhere from indecency with a child all the way up to distribution of child pornography.

"If you distribute that photo knowing that you take pictures of yourself and you are under the age of 18, then you are distributing child pornography," she says.

Hix says it's important for parents to be involved in their child's life and to monitor their electronic activities.  "Parents want to have a lifeline to their kids and I can understand that.  With that technology as far as cell phones go, there comes the responsibility about sitting down with your child and talking about what they should be taking pictures of."

It's especially important to know the consequences, which according to police can have kids as young as ten years old (which is the age of culpability) registering as sex offenders or be convicted of third-degree felonies.  It doesn't matter if the photos are shared between two consensual teenagers as in a boyfriend and girlfriend, the charges still apply.

Neferti Arizola, a parent of an 11-year-old and an 8-year-old says she monitors what her children do online and with their phones.  She lets them have a Myspace account, but she makes sure to go online now and then to see what her kids are up to.  Still, it's hard to monitor everything.  "It kinds catches you off guard because you can try to control those things as much as you would like to but it's not feasible to look over your kids shoulders...  You just try to educate your kids."

For more info on "sexting" and teenagers, thenationalcampaign.org has released a survey on the matter.

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