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Pender detectives investigating "sexting" at schools

READ MORE: Pender detectives investigating "sexting" at schools
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Sexting is becoming a serious concern for parents and law enforcement worldwide. Pender County detectives are trying to stop teenagers and children from exchanging nude photos via cell phone.

Sexting is something Pender County detectives have been investigating for a while, but they launched an in-depth investigation when parents started calling the sheriff's office after finding nude photos on their children's cell phones.

Sexting, or sending sexual texts or pictures through your cell phone, is sweeping through the phones of teenagers. Pender County Sheriff's Det. Scott Lawson says there are also criminal consequences from texting, including the possibility of having to register as a sex offender.

Deputies are doing everything they can to try and control what is sent via phone. Lawson says it's a growing problem, worldwide.

"Some of these images on the Internet have more value than US currency," Lawson said "We are seeing these images of our American children ending up on pedophiles' computers overseas."

Once a person hits the send button, the image can end up in cyberspace. Some teenagers and children think there is no way for deputies or parents to control what they send or receive, but there is software offered by companies like AT&T and Verizon that can block texts and images from being sent from phones. Lawson says it would be a good investment for parents.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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I would like to say I am a

I would like to say I am a sophomore in high school and a lot of kids don't need their cell phones yes BUT some do and even if you take the phone away at school what keeps them from doing it at home? YES it is an issue BUT some things you can only control so far before it just comes down to the person behind the cell phone. A teenager can only be taught so much before they make their own decisions. We need guidance I wont deny that but once you have said everything, told us what to do, and how we SHOULD act you just have to hope and pray we do the right thing. Its the same way for drugs, drinking, sex, and teen pregnancy. Yes you can put locks so we can't take or receive pictures like that but honestly we are going to run into someone who CAN see those kinds of things and its up to us whether we witness them or not and whether we participate or not. I personally wouldn't in a million years because I know how it would make my mom feel and I wouldn't want to take a risk of ever having the picture be seen but others don't feel the same way I feel about that. All you can do is love your children and show them what the right thing to do is and hope they listen and do the right thing when it comes time. If any of you do not feel the same way I truly hope I do not offend you.

Where are

I graduated in 2002 and this issue is nothing new. Where are the parents at and why aren't they making the rules for their own kids. Parents expect the schools to babysit their kids on top of the education they are needed. Don't blame the schools, BLAME YOURSELVES....

I would like to say that i

I would like to say that i have 2 teenage children that have cell phones and one of the reason why we got them cell phones was to know where they are at all times my children do sports for schools ect...But me and my husband set rules with our children for one when we got our phones from AT&T we put parental controls on it ,were you can set the time when the phone can be in use like 9-5 hours only ect.. also no internet use at all which means no picture text just regular text becasue me as an adult get stupid stuff all the time and didn't want my kids to see that stuff so parents can pervent it if they want to .We also limited them on mins. and we can see everyone there calling. U do have the option to put the tracking device on it . And the cost to add the parental control was 5.00 each line a small price to pay. But these kids that are doing it on phones , if it wasn't phones it would be buy a camera or looking at magazines to look and show these types of things to each other we know we all did something like this as we were growing up and when parents found out we all got a big talk and in trouble for doing so i do think they need be punished but not like this...

phones

As a highschool graduate in 2008, I think phones should be allowed but to a certain extent. No texting should be allowed during class times. My cell phone was bought for emergencies such as Columbine or lock downs. My father had heart problems, and one day fell down at home and had a heart attack. The only way he was able to reach me in a timely manner was via my cell phone. If you dont want your children texting/sexting in class, buy a phone plan that doesnt include texting... plain and simple. dont punish other children who have their phones for a ligitimate reason.

You people simply amaze me

Thinking that the police are making more out of it than needs to be..Let them send nude pictures of each other. It's OK. Who cares, the police have bigger issues. That makes me want to puke my guts up. Honestly people, do you think it is OK for a 14 year old girl to send nude pictures of herself to someone? Honestly. Do you. How about a 13 year old, 15 year old?
How about your 13 year old sending nude pictures to a 22 year old. Different story?
I hope that the next time you are surfing the web or any of those social networks, you don't find pictures of your kids posted in these situations.

If it is such an issue, then

If it is such an issue, then maybe the parents should not allow the kids to have the option to send or receive picture messages.

Here is a thought parents.

Here is a thought parents. Don't give your kids phones to take to school. As a parent and a high school teacher I see cell phones as a big problem amoung our youth. I take my students phones when they take them out in my class sometimes they give it up willingly other times it is more of a struggle. As a parent if my children tell they are going somewhere or going to do something, I check behind every time to ensure they are doing as they said they were. If they are at school and there is an emergency I call the front office. Bottom line kids do not need to have phones at school.

You said it!

The kids DO NOT need cell phones in school, period!

What if?

Something happens to them while walking home from school or waiting on the bus. They need a cell phone but should have to keep them put away and not using them during class, if they get caught using them during class there should be a punishment.

Personally I walk with my

Personally I walk with my kids to school. If you personally can't be there then you should find someone that can be there. Thats called doing what's right.

Cell phones

I agree that the kids should be punished if doing these things. As far as the kids taking cell phones to school, I know that I like my kids to take thier cell phone in case of an emergency, in case something happened while waiting on the bus or if something happened like at Columbine that the kids would have a way to call if an emergency should arise. Most of the cell phones have tracking on them if something happened a child were abducted. So for me its a saftey measure to let my kids take it to school.

If this

is taking place at school, on school grounds, during class or between classes, I have one question.

Why are students bringing cell phones to school? If there is a legitimate need for one -- family illness, work related -- that's one thing.

Clearly this falls into neither of those.

Start suspending those who bring cell phones to school.

A real insult will be if these phones were distributed under the Annointed One's program which is evidenced by SafeLink. The program that distributes free cell phones for those who can not afford them otherwise.

Connectivity

Being a single parent with a middle schooler, knowing where she is at all times is very important. After school, or if something happended, etc. The school will and should take any phone away if it is being used during school hours, but it must be silenced during hours. After that, the ringer can be turned back on. When my child is on restriction, I take her phone away as punishment, but it causes ME anxiety, because I'm not able to know her every move. It's just as much a punishment to me than to her. My child only has a cheapo phone to stay connected. Maybe this is the problem. Parents are buying the kids these fancy, state of the art gadgets, that are beyond there needs (and sometimes affordability), just to keep up with the Jones'. Want to keep up with your kid? Get them a basic phone that does nothing more that make calls. If you need to get in touch with someone that bad, dial their number and talk. Quit this texting crap. Ridiculous.

sexting

Tom, the free cell phones are bare bones, they do not include data transfers such as photos. These are phones supplied by parents who give in to the demands of their kids.

The free cellphone program started years before Obama was in the picture anyway, do some research.

Cell phones at school should be banned, period. Our school officials have no backbone at all.

Well, you can't do that....

...that would require parental involvement, enforcement and having to tell your child "NO". TABOO these days.......

They need to charge..

They should charge these kids as adults. If Joe Guarascio got 15 years for having explicit photos on his phone and home computer, then these kids should be charged the same. Regardless of the age, they should be arrested, charged, jailed, and have to register as sex offenders. It's a shame that the parents do not so enough to stop it. They should also be charged if they knowingly allow their child to view or receive such messages. I am glad I do not have children. It's a terrible time in this world.

Take the phones!

Problem completely solved!!! **chuckle** Yea right! Anybody here a teenager at one time? Just wondering........ I wonder if there are bigger issues that need to be addressed within the school systems? Nah.....

**btw - I am glad you don't have kids too!**

One of the most ignorant opinions I've heard in years

It's thoughts like these that create the emphasis for authorities to waste their time on these non-criminal issues. Remember there is a reason for treating children as minors - THEY'RE NOT ADULTS. If my child sent or received a physical picture of themselves or a classmate, I would consider it my responsibility to discuss and deal with it appropriately.

To charge as an adult and force them to register a sex offender . . . just plain foolish. What's next, will any child who played/plays "doctor" be required to register and wear an ankle bracelet.

Really.

Phone

He got 15 years because he made a deal.There was this thing with a 14 year old.So its not the same.Not to mention he's a whole lot older.Also to Tom,Obama didn't start the phone thing and the goverment does not pay for it.

who do

you think is paying for programs like Safe Link?

Take your own advise and do some research. It expanded into NC and the majority of states after the Annointed One was elected and he signed off on its expansion.

Surfcitytom, Here is some

Surfcitytom,

Here is some research for ya:

http://www.factcheck.org/2009/10/the-obama-phone/

Factcheck better check their facts

The "universal service fee" is allowed (mandated in some cases) by state utility commissions, is NOT optional, and is a de facto tax masquerading as a charity contribution.

So yes, taxpayers pay for it.

Safelink Wireless

On the main page of the site it states:

SafeLink Wireless is a government supported program
that provides a free cell phone and airtime each
month for income-eligible customers.

yet in the FAQ it states......

SafeLink phones are not paid for by taxpayers or the federal government. TracFone Wireless pays for the phones and also the cost of promoting its SafeLink program to make sure that eligible consumers know about the program.

https://www.safelinkwireless.com/EnrollmentPublic/benefits.aspx

????? My gut tells me it finds a way back to the taxpayer somehow.

The phones ARE free

The service, however, is paid for by taxpayers.

No different than a cellular carrier giving you a free phone in return for signing a two-year contract. It's the airtime where they make their money.

Common, what is your source

Common, what is your source for that info? Everything I have read says otherwise.

The Universal Connectivity Fee is mandated by federal law

The carriers have to pay that fee into the giant slush fund. That money is what pays for this free cellular service for deadbeats.

The carriers pass that fee onto you. They have the power to do that because the state utility commissions include that in recoverable expenses.

So to say that this is not paid with taxpayer money is hogwash! The FCC mandates that Verizon, AT&T, Century Link, et al pay the fee. **THEY** are all taxpayers.

They pass the charge onto you because state law says they can do it. **YOU** are a taxpayer.

So these phones ARE paid for by taxpayers. Neither the carriers nor you have a choice! Money is being taken and redistributed under power of law - what do you call that?

A TAX.

Free

It is paid from the universal service fund.The carrier pays that.Some may charge a subscriber others may not.So if you pay for it,its your provider charging you not the government.

Saying that it's not a tax.....

...because the carriers pay it is nonsensical. Even if the costs weren't passed on, take the time to check out the annual reports for AT&T and Verizon to see how much tax they paid last year. Corporations ARE taxpayers. (We have one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world, yet wonder why companies move their operations overseas.)

The entire fund, however, was set up with the idea that the costs could be recouped through customer billing.

You can't claim it's not your fault if you throw a rock and hit the wrong person. The tax the government levies against carriers hits YOU right in the wallet, totally blessed by that government and the states.

These losers have free phones because the federal governemnt started yet another program under the guise of helping the poor that exploded into nothing but another adventure in coddling the lazy and carrying the incompetent.

Common

Thanks for the vindication. That these bleeding heart liberals will continue to overlook the workings of Reid, Pelosi, and the Annointed One shows there is still danger wealth redistribution will continue.

Next they'll try to point out this program actually started in the Bush Administration. Of course, they'll overlook its beginnings in a funding bill pushed through by Reid and Pelosi who ran rampant during the final years of the Bush Administration.

Even the Liberal Media is beginning to express its frustrations with the Democratic antics and its failure to make good on all the promises made by the current administration.

And the Voters are speaking as well.

Free phone

I'll give you that,but the phone companies plan to make money from these people believing thay will buy more time.Nobody can use a phone 2 minutes a day.The free phone will cost more than paying for your own.