MPD responds to sexting complaints in Mobile schools

 

Mobile Police say they've responded to several complaints about sexting between children over the last few months. MPD's Office of Strategic Initiatives is putting boots on the ground, educating students and parents on the dangers.

With the new law in effect that incriminates both adults and children now, who have explicit photos of a minor in their possession, they say it's much more important for parents to keep a close eye on their children's activity.

"It's dangerous. The world is a dangerous place," said a parent who attended the meeting MPD held at Theodore High School tonight.

In a world where social media dominates hours of people's time, Mobile police are warning parents to watch their children closely.

"We need the parents to be informed of what their children are doing with their cell phones," said MPD Family Intervention Specialist Katina Randolph.

Experts say children are increasingly using apps like Snapchat, Kik, and Instagram to send lewd pictures.

"The images and explicit languages that are being displayed and text to one another and the parents really don't know what's being said or done over the internet," said Randolph.

There are even coded language teens use to disguise what they're talking about.

"Kids don't text the way that we text, they use acronyms," said Meosha Rayford, who's with MPD's Office of Strategic Initiatives.

A new law that went into effect that went into effect in August tightened the rules on sexting, making any nude photos of minors, child pornography. It also makes anyone possessing the photo, a criminal.

"This is a felony that we're talking about. It can affect your children's future as far as college, or career choice in life. If they are found guilty of this, they cannot work with children," explained Randolph.

Mobile Police say, believe it or not, it's happening right under our noses.

"Last year there were some things that occurred within the school system that were brought to the light," Randolph added.

Parents like David Dixon, who attended the meeting, are especially worried about their children's use.

"I've got a 15-year-old daughter that's all caught up in it and everything and she needs to know why its bad," said Dixon.

He's already taken some steps to restrict his daughters use but he needs to know more.

"Right now we have her on a safe, secure program on her phone where we can monitor where she goes," Dixon explained. "We try blocking stuff but she has said that when we're blocking stuff, there's always back doors to everything."

MPD says parents can use apps to set a curfew for their child's phone to go on and off at a certain time. There's also an app to track their child by GPS, see which apps they've used, and read their text messages, even if they were deleted already.

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Toi Thornton is a Reporter. His Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism comes from Dillard University in 2014 and his Master's degree in New Media Journalism from Full Sail University in 2016. He previously worked as the Fox anchor in Lafayette, LA.

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