A school is educating parents about teens using social media, and officers in law enforcement want parents to know that there is an increase in teens and preteens sending sexually explicit images.
In Lawrence, Kansas, the school district held a parent social media night, and representatives of the police department were on hand to share information. “What I’m going to be talking about is stuff going on here in Lawrence, Kansas. Cases that I’m seeing,” said Det. David Garcia, who is a juvenile investigator with the Lawrence Police Department. “…We do have a local problem with it.”
According to Garcia, there are currently three detectives working about 50 cases each involving sexual exploitation of a minor. Garcia told the parents that in most cases, both the suspect and the victim are minors, and they are getting younger.
“Unfortunately, I don’t know what it is, but it’s been my experience that the ages are starting to get younger of when the cases are coming in,” Garcia said. He says that it is common that the pictures are sent between the kids when there is a romantic relationship, but they are distributed widely when there is a break up.
The school district has responded with an education campaign known as digital citizenship. Informational meetings are held for parents, and then followed by special sessions for students in middle school.