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Police Week: teens and sexting

May 21, 2014   ·   0 Comments

Constable Paul Neumann of the Shelburne Police Department delivered a very important presentation on the hazards and repercussions involving the world wide problem of ‘sexting’. As part of Building Community Partenships, the 2014 theme for Police week, local campaigns include and highlight important work in the community with a focus on police professionalism, accountability and community engagement through social media.

Sexting has become a global social media problem with the onset of technology growing faster than most can keep up, including laws surrounding child pornography and cell phones which are almost always, cameras.

For those unfamiliar with the term, sexting is the act of taking naked, or even clothed but sexually explicit pictures of yourself followed by texting, emailing, tweeting, Instagram, basically sending them. Constable Paul Neumann held a captive audience as teens at Centre Dufferin District High School were surprised to know the seriousness of sending pictures, stressing the fact that once a picture is on the Internet, it is always on the Internet.

What most people do not realise is that living in the moment can become the moment that can ruin your life and last a lifetime, possibly a lifetime of prison. To take a naked selfie and send it to a boyfriend/girlfriend is so common amongst teens and for those 18 years and younger, legally considered children, they do not realize they are suddenly in possession of child pornography, and that is a serious crime. To receive that photo places the receiver in possession of child pornography, for that receiver to then forward to friends or post on the Internet, they will find themselves guilty of not only having been in possession of child pornography but are also criminally guilty of distributing child pornography.

Neumann stressed that trusting someone not to re-send pictures of this nature is a bad decision also noting that phones get lost, and information can be found. Life can then take a turn from which recovery is next to impossible as people report their past coming back to haunt them long after they have married, started families, and the incident has been known to cripple careers, resulting in humiliation, depression, and embarrassment. Many teens do not go to police with this particular grievance as they are ashamed, humiliated, bullied, become victims of unsolicited sexual offers, and more.

For those familiar with bullying and sexting, they will admit this type of humiliation is far worse and will never go away.

Those charged with possession and distribution of child pornography can go on the registered sexual offender’s list for up to 25 years, international travel is forbidden, and restrictions of personal freedom will be put in place. A person charged may not be able to go to a public pool or be anywhere children might be, including a hockey game for up to 25 years. For some perspective, as time passes and high school fades away, a person charged in high school would be restricted from attending their own child’s soccer game! Many students engaged Neumann in articulately expressed questions. “I hope I’ve scared you a little into not participating in sexting for all the reasons I explained. It really can ruin your life,” Neumann stated.

As part of the presentation, Neumann referred to the case of Phillip Alpert, a Florida teen who decided to send naked pictures of his ex-girlfriend to his friends in retaliation for a break-up. Go to this link to discover the outcome for Alpert. http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/phillip-alpert-sexting-teen-child-porn/story?id=10252790

Neumann did mention that if you have received photos of naked selfies, to delete them immediately and do not save, do not put into a folder, do not print, or email. Remember just one click trusting someone not to re-send a photo can change your life and the life of the receiver of that photo for that moment and forever.

For more information contact Constable Paul Neumann at the Shelburne Police Department at 519 925-3312 or visit www.shelburnepolice.com

By Alex Sher

         

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