Taking a picture with a cell phone is simple. But it's not all picture perfect. Many teens are using their phones to send nude and explicit pictures of themselves to friends.
The teens we spoke to say they see it happen all the time.
Local students Jenny & Julie say it happens, "everyday, yah pretty much everyday." Another student, Nelson Rock agrees. "I see it happen a bunch."
16-year–old student Brie McClure says some of these sexting messages have been sent to her. "I've gotten pictures of people that I haven't even met before." And teens say once the pictures get out there's no controlling where they go.
High School students Amanda and Alex say it doesn't take long. "Like two days, everyone will have a picture of some girl on their phone."
It also happens to the guys as well. Andrew Johnson took a picture of himself that eventually got around school. "Actually it was more of a joke and then all of the sudden like the next day everyone is coming up to me, 'hey, I saw you naked.' And I was like, oh no!" says Johnson.
Joke or not Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger doesn't think this growing trend is funny.
"Its incredibly stupid thing to do, its also criminal." says Hautzinger. "Technically it could be as much as a class three felony for distribution of child pornography." But locking up teens is the last thing the Hautzinger wants to do. He says, "I've got better things to do with my time then prosecuting you guys for child pornography and I've got murders and rapists I can deal with."
However if a teen is caught sexting.. "If I ultimately have to start filling charges and prosecuting some people I'm willing to do that," says Hautzinger.
Besides charges a teen can also ruin their reputation by sexting. Alex & Amanda say, "Even though like a lot of people do it, people will still be like, 'oh that girl is a slut.'"
From criminal charges to a bad rep at school, officials like Hautzinger are just hoping that teens realize what's at stake before they hit send.
Some states like Vermont are working to change laws so that teens who sext won't be charged with child pornography and labeled as sex offenders..
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