Sexting In Schools An Increasing Problem In Oklahoma
CANADIAN COUNTY, Oklahoma - Sexting in schools is a problem more administrators are seeing, even with kids as young as pre-teens.
Schools in Canadian County have called the sheriff's office several times about the alarming trend, which includes sexting rings that trade nude pictures like baseball cards.
Kids as young as 11 and all the way up to high school seniors are sexting, sometimes at school.
“It happens from home and they bring it into the school, they'll have truth and dare type scenarios where they'll try to do crazy pictures maybe somewhere at school,” said Lt. Adam Flowers with the Canadian County Sheriff's Office.
Lt. Flowers will not reveal which schools, but he said it is rampant and no longer only involves videos.
“I've seen videos and pictures that are triple X rated, it's awful,” Lt. Flowers said.
Now, investigators are seeing rings of activity where kids are swapping nude pictures they have received in exchange for other nudes.
“They'll just go back and forth, like tennis, back and forth,” Lt. Flowers told News 9.
The sheriff's office is warning parents about the trend because kids are not realizing the dangers of sending or trading inappropriate pictures.
“We are starting to see more extreme type graphic, graphic pictures and video being traded,” Lt. Flowers explained.
Nude pics of underage kids are considered child pornography even if a kid takes it of themselves and sharing it is considered child porn distribution.
“Even if you create it yourself, it's child pornography because they are a child,” said Lt. Flowers.
Some of the worst outcomes are the cyberbullying that can happen and child predators who get a hold of the picture.
“Kids don't realize what they are doing, they only think in the now, they don't think about the future consequences,” Lt. Flowers explained.
Investigators said they want to protect teens, not put them in jail. However, they have had to file charges on a few teenagers who would not stop spreading nude photos even after repeated warnings.
Besides text messages, parents should also monitor these apps on their child’s cell phone: SnapChat, Kik, Text Free and Text Plus.
Kids are also using “photo vaults” that look like a generic app icon, like a calculator, but actually unlock hidden pictures when you type in the right code.
Anyone with questions or concerns related to the safety of children is encouraged to contact the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office at 405-262-3434.