Local Police Agency Calls "Sexting" A Growing Problem - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Local Police Agency Calls "Sexting" A Growing Problem

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This pamphlet can be found at various police departments across Delaware, including in Milford. This pamphlet can be found at various police departments across Delaware, including in Milford.

MILFORD, Del.- Some might call it a symptom of the technological era. According to police, "sexting" is a growing problem nationwide, especially among young people. 

"It's nothing we're immune to on Delmarva," said Cpl. Robert Masten from the Milford Police Department. "We have cases like this." 

According to the Department of Justice, sexting is defined as "the sending or forwarding of nude, sexually suggestive, or explicit pictures on your cellphone or online."

Masten, who is also a school resource officer for the Milford School District, said the consequences of sexting can be severe. 

"In a lot of cases," he said. "We find that the sender was pressured by the person that received it into actually sending it."

According to a pamphlet, distributed by the Department of Justice, at least three out of 10 young people nationwide are involved with sexting. Masten said that an open dialogue between parents and their children is crucial. 

"I think no matter what," he said, "I think whether you child has the cellphone at this point or not, educate them on it."

The motto for the Department of Justice effort is "Send is 4ever," because Masten said often messages will go from one person to another, and sometimes find it's way online, where it will "live forever." 

"Once it's out there," he said, "You can't get it back. And you don’t know how many people saved the photo once they received it. They can tell you they erased it. There’s no guarantees of that."

According to the Department of Justice pamphlet, more than half of those who received a "sext" admitted to sharing it with other people. One out of five admitted to forwarding the message to others. 

Sexting is not only dangerous, but it's also illegal, according to the pamphlet. One can face charges for "producing child pornography," just by being in the image. Meanwhile "distribution" charges can be filed simply for forwarding a message. Even just having the images on a phone or computer could be defined as possession of child pornography. 

For all charges, one can be added to the Delaware Sex Offender Central Registry.

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