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Jan 31 2012

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CANADA: Group of High School Students Caught Sexting – It IS Child Porn for Teens to Sext!!

FROM:

ALCONA — It may be hard for some parents to imagine — about 50 teenagers of both sexes from ages 14 to 18 taking explicit photos of themselves and sharing them through texts.

It’s known as sexting, typically not an illegal activity, but one that South Simcoe Police were asked to investigate after teachers at Nantyr Shores Secondary School found out what was going on last Wednesday.
Here’s what police made public last Friday:

• The students were using the BlackBerry Messenger Service, a texting-style application exclusive to BlackBerry users, to share nude and sexually explicit photos.
• The students had formed a male group and a female group.
• The male group would solicit females at the school to send them a nude photo of themselves via BBM and the female group would do the same to the males. These photos were shared with all the members of the BBM group.
• Police believe all the photos were sent with consent of the individual involved, meaning criminal charges were less likely.

While no one was charged, some of the photos could be considered child pornography because of their graphic nature and the fact the participants were under 18.

“It is clear that the students did not appreciate the consequences of their actions as it relates to possible criminality and the potential for future damage to their reputation,” Staff-Sgt. John Van Dyke said.

One female Nantyr student said she doesn’t believe many of the girls involved understood what they were getting into.

“The girls think the photos are never going to get sent around, but the boys just send them around,” Sian Sabean said. “I don’t know why they trust them.”

The Nantyr BBM groups have been shut down, police say. Meanwhile, Det. Anthony Torresan, with the York Regional Police internet child exploitation unit, said police don’t see many sexting cases. The practise only becomes illegal when the images are shared without the knowledge or consent of the person who sends the photograph, Det. Torresan said.

“Anything that is done as far as distributing that image could result in numerous charges,” Det. Torresan said.

He is aware of cases in which someone has demanded the sender send more images and if they don’t, the photos will be posted publicly. In that scenario, child pornography and possibly criminal harassment charges can be laid.

Police in Ontario have taken that step on at least one occaision. Niagara Regional Police arrested a Grimsby woman, 18, in 2006 after teachers and staff at a high school were sent graphic e-mails of young people. Sex crimes detectives later determined a separate teenager had set up the e-mail account used to send the images in the name of a young woman. Forensic tracing was used to link the photos to the actual sender. Charges of child pornography distribution and impersonation were laid in the case.

Meanwhile, the topic of youth and sexuality can easily create panic among parents and that can be made worse when technology is thrown into the mix, said York University associate professor Peter Cumming, who wrote a position paper on youth, sexuality and technology in 2009. He cautioned against the belief that sexting is becoming more common, arguing very little research has been done on the subject.

“Child pornography laws exist for a reason but they weren’t designed to entrap and condemn a young person who makes a mistake,” he said.
Sexting most typically occurs between consenting people, he said. “The problem is when something private gets taken into the public sphere,” he added.

Education about sexuality, media and technology are important, he suggested.

“The more knowledge people have, the better.”

That is exactly the approach South Simcoe Police and Nantyr staff are taking in the Alcona case.

Officers are working with the school to educate the students on proper use of digital devices. Parents will also be educated on the digital technology teens have at their disposal and how easily it can be used to facilitate unwanted or illegal behaviour with potential long-term consequences.

 “Even though they’re young, they should think about how things can affect their futures by doing something so permanent that they might regret later,” South Simcoe Staff-Sgt. Lisa Hunt said. “Once you put something out there, anyone can get anything. Once people post stuff, then it’s out there and people can copy these things.”

An educational session will be held with Nantyr students in February. A separate session will also be held with the parents.

Permanent link to this article: http://porninthevalley.com/2012/01/31/canada-group-of-high-school-students-caught-sexting-it-is-child-porn-for-teens-to-sext/

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