Technology is a great thing. Information is readily available, and communication is instantaneous. Unfortunately technology can also get the unsuspecting into real trouble, real fast.

“Sexting ” a combination of sex and text messaging, has become all too common with teenagers across the Country  including those here in Granby.

This behavior includes sending text messages with sexual overtones and sometimes includes the teen sending naked pictures of themselves or friends via cell phone or computer. Although the teens may consider this harmless behavior, similar to flirting, there can be some serious repercussions to the behavior. Once they hit “transmit” they have lost total control over the destination of their message or picture.

We have had instances in Town where pictures of underage teens have been posted on internet. Once there, they can exist forever. Some of these pictures have been circulated as a form of bullying, other times as a form of sexual harassment. There have been instances in other parts of the country where the circulation of these pictures have caused teen suicide due to embarrassment. Sometimes the teens send information and pictures to people they do not know, that they have met only “on-line” through sites like Facebook, My space, Youthink, or in chat rooms. Teens forget how easy it is to pretend to be someone else on these sites and often think they are talking to peers, and in reality they are talking to predators.

Legally, provocative pictures of children under the age of 18 is
considered “Child pornography” and is a felony, as is dissemination of that material. Unfortunately the law does not take into account the age of the offender. Distribution, including telephone and computer transmission, of naked pictures to a teen is illegal, even if it is their own picture.

What can parents do? Talk to your teen. Stress the seriousness of this type of behavior and its potential ramifications. Monitor their phone use as you should their computer use. If you desire more information please feel free to contact School Resource Officer James White, Detective Barbara Fenn at the Granby PD (467-9222) or School Counselors.
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