Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
Andrew Adams reportingIn part one of our "Cell Phone Porn" series, we learned it's widespread: teens trading nude, even sexually-explicit pictures on their cell phones.
Today, we'll explore what we what is being done to attack the problem at its roots, and what you can do as a mom or dad to protect your child.
Children are already getting the message in the classroom. Sariah Donahoo, an educator for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, says, "It is illegal to take the naked picture of a child."
Donahoo talks tough at schools like Lone Peak High. She says, "When you take pictures like this, you no longer are the victim. You become the predator, and we're going to treat you like one."
It's a tough lesson for the students to learn, and Donahoo says it should be.
One parent we spoke with said, "I would be the first to applaud efforts to prosecute creators and senders of these messages."
But this is the father of a recipient. His daughter was charged, too, and he says that confuses the message. He says, "Now, I think what these innocent victims will do is whenever they get these types of images, they'll just try to keep it a secret as much as possible and maybe not tell the right people."
The dilemma is even leading to talk of legislation. Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings says, "Maybe it's that they ban cell phones with text messaging capability."
Rawlings and Rep. Sheryl Allen support creating a law that gives school district policies some teeth. "Sometimes parents get irritated when an electronic device is confiscated, so having legislative authority to do those things is very helpful," Allen says.
Doug Goldsmith, executive director of The Children's Center, says, "We don't want to get rid of something because of some of the bad that's happening." Goldsmith believes pro-active parents are a better answer. He says, "We've really got to talk about appropriate use and ‘what kind of messages are you sending?' and ‘I want to take a look at your phone.'" Donahoo says, "Absolutely, I think it's completely avoided by parents."
Donahoo and school district officials agree: parents need to step up. Prosecutors say the teens' criminal records may go away with age, but the pictures won't.