Sexting trend on the rise
DCSO offering awareness classes for parents
Article by Elean Gersack
Taking a picture or video and pressing send – or even just opening a text or an e-mail. It’s that easy for a child’s life to change forever. The high tech trend is called “sexting” and many seemingly innocent kids do not realize the consequences of taking part.
Sexual exploitation of a child is a felony charge and can be issued when a person’s electric device (computer, phone, iPod, gaming device, etc.) receives or transmits nude or partially nude photos or videos of someone under the age of 18.
Taking such a photo or video is considered creation of child pornography; sharing it constitutes distribution of child pornography; and someone who has the image or video saved on a device is considered in possession of child pornography. Depending upon the level of the case, possible outcomes can include education, probation, or even conviction as a sex offender.
The problem is becoming increasingly prevalent in the community, with most casees involving a multitude of kids. According to Douglas County Detective Carl Garza, the most common scenario is a thirteen to fifteen year-old girl sending a self-taken photo to a young boy. “They think the boy will view the photo and delete it but the photos get passed around and go viral. It’s a horrible endless cycle,” he stated.
According to Detective Garza, images can be grabbed in “space” between the transmission of two devices so even if the intent is to share with only one person, it is possible for the images to end up on the internet. He adds that any explicit underage photos that are recovered must be submitted to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The individual in the photo will receive annual reporting of the number of times an image has been viewed, serving as a forever reminder.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) wants to spread the word and educate both kids and parents about the capabilities of today’s technology and the life-long consequences when it comes to sexting. “We want them to understand what it can do to their future,” shares Detective Garza.
Douglas County Sheriff David A. Weaver’s, Youth Education and Safety in Schools (Y.E.S.S.) Program includes sexting as an important component to the health and safety lessons presented at schools in the county. For parents, a series of sexting awareness classes have been planned during the month of May. Detective Garza strongly recommends that all parents of children who have a cell phone or access to a smart device attend these classes.
Visit http://dcsheriff.net/yess, for more information about the Y.E.S.S. program. For questions about the parent awareness classes, please contact Deputy Ann Walton at 303-814-7001 or e-mail.
Classes are planned at the following times and locations:
Tuesday. May 8 at 6:30 p.m.
Jury Assembly Room at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office
4000 Justice Way, Castle Rock
Thursday May 10 at 6:30 pm
Highlands Ranch Substation
9250 Zotos Drive
Thursday May 31 at 6:30 pm
10851 S. Crossroads Drive