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Smart phones, dumb choices: Five dangerous trends of student cell phone use

Sexting

The increased popularity and pressure to send racy photos amongst teens has caused many problems – both for the subject of the photos and, to a lesser extent, the distributor of these photos.

The common scenario is, of course: Teen takes nude photos; teen sends them to their significant other; they break up; the photos are posted online and/or distributed to others.

For obvious reasons, if a teen receives inappropriate photos, they should not share them with anyone else. But less obvious, a teen can face a felony charge for distributing child pornography, as well as simply for possessing a nude photo of a minor.

In mid-April, two New Jersey teenagers faced criminal charges for possessing and distributing a nude photo. According to CBS New York, a 16-year-old male student and his current girlfriend have been charged in connection with the photos of the male’s ex-girlfriend.

Educate Students, Staff and Parents

Teens may be breaking the law using their smart phones without even realizing it.  While an arrest for possessing or distributing child pornography is an extreme case, it serves to illustrate that a lapse in judgment – theoretically as easy as sharing a photo or making a social media post – can have serious long-term consequences.

While it may be difficult for parents and school administrators to monitor cell phone or Internet activity, it is important to make teens aware of the consequences of their actions. The last thing educators want to see is one of their students hurt or taken away in handcuffs.

Whitney Gibson leads the Vorys Internet defamation group and speaks at school assemblies on social media and cyberbullying. You can contact Whitney Gibson at 855.542.9192 or wcgibson@vorys.com.  Read more about the practice at www.defamationremovalattorneys.com and www.defamationremovalattorneysblog.com.  

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