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Newport News Now

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Newport News Now is a daily e-newsletter that launched in March 2016. Articles that ran in our newsletter between March 2016 and March 2018 are available on these pages. Newsletters produced beginning in April 2018 can be viewed on our new daily newsletter page.

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May 31

Sexting Among Kids on the Rise

Posted on May 31, 2017 at 8:18 AM by Communications Department

NNPD Encourages Parents to Monitor Cellphone Usage

Between 2012 and 2016, the Newport News Police Department received 67 reports of Obscene Material/Pornography. Many of these reported incidents involved juveniles participating in “sexting.” This is the day and age of technology, and parents need to recognize that smartphones have the ability to both help and hinder children.
The best way to find out how your kids are using their phones is to ask them. Activities popular with kids include photo and video sharing, texting, and gaming, along with a growing number of social networking apps that are not limited to the ones you might have heard of, such as Facebook and Twitter. For pre-teens and teens, cellphone usage is embedded in everyday life and is mostly about sharing and socializing. And the people they're interacting with are typically friends and peers they know from school and other parts of their lives that you know about. Sometimes kids even use their phones to help with homework. Even though apps come and go and technology changes, the parenting part hasn't changed much – parents still need to ask questions and set limits.

What has become a popular trend among middle and high schoolers is “sexting,” and it has received increasing public attention over the past several years. Sexting is defined as the sending and receiving of sexually explicit cellphone text or photo messages. Sexting is typically limited between two or a few people, but there are occasions when these images have been shared over and over again. A national survey of 1,560 minors aged 10-17 revealed that roughly seven percent had received "nude or nearly nude" pictures or videos, and only about two percent had appeared in or created such images. Females were more likely to create or appear in nude or nearly nude pictures, and over half of such images were generated between senders and recipients as part of a romantic relationship. Few minors reported distributing these images widely.

Parents should exercise micro-control over smartphone use, and remember their children do not have an expectation of privacy when using them. In many instances of widely shared images one nude photo shared between partners has often exploded into widespread sharing of the image, which can never be removed from the internet and constitutes the production and dissemination of child pornography.

A Parent’s Guide to Mobile Phones is a resource parents can use to help manage juvenile cell phone use.