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Teen Sexting

Just a few years ago, parents were being warned about the dangers of social networking sites.

Parents were told to monitor their child's Internet use, but now with many cell phones being mini computers and the texting craze among teens, there is a new warning for parents.

It is a form of tech sex your child could be engaging in and you don't even know it.

There is a dangerous new trend is growing among teens.

Its called sexting and it's the new lingo or slang.

Flirting is no longer done on paper, but rather by way of cell phone and racy nude photos.

"We've seen it in both the private schools and the public schools in Fayette County, among middle schools aged kids as well as the high school students," says Detective David Hester with the Lexington Police Department's Crimes Against Children Division.

Right now, Lexington Police are investigating claims at Bryan Station High School that a student had pictures sent via text to several classmates.

It can happen fast. One photo can easily end up on dozens of phones.

In the eyes of the law, sexting is a crime

Sending and receiving nude or even semi-nude images of someone underage is a felony, no matter the age of the person who sent it.

While area teens we talked with admit they've never done anything like this, there are plenty of teens who have.

Police say many of them not thinking about who could end up with the photo.

"The main thing we're concerned with is children making these bad choices and unbeknownst to them. that gets on the Internet there are adults who take great pleasure in seeing these images," says Captain Howard Logue with the Electronic Crime Branch of the Kentucky State Police.

So just how many teens are sexting? A recent nationwide study found 20 percent of teens say they have either electronically sent or posted on-line nude or semi-nude photos of themselves.

According to the study by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and Cosmo Girl, that's roughly one in five young people.

In Frankfort, Kentucky State Police investigators are busy with sexting cases.

Most of them never warrant serious charges, but in other parts of the country that isn't the case.

Just last week, two Mason, Ohio teens were charged with possessing and sending nude photos of two female classmates.

In Greensburg, Pennsylvania three high school girls and four boys were charged with child porn for sending and receiving photos.

In Massachusetts six middle school boys face charges after being accused of exchanging nude photos of a 13-year-old classmate.

And in Waukesha, Wisconsin police are considering charges against a teen who sent a nude photo of a 14-year-old ex-girlfriend to 100 classmates.

While police say some sexting cases are criminal, most are just stupid mistakes that teens often don't realize the seriousness of until after they push send..

"They do make bad decisions, unfortunately that bad decision could be floating around for a long time," says Captain Logue.

Police say teens who send these types of pictures maliciously run the risk of being charged with a felony child pornography charge.

Parents police say pick up your child's phone and check it often, both text messages and pictures.

Police says its the best way to know what's going on with your child.


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