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Monday, January 07, 2008

Teen-distributed child porn

This is a nightmare I wish we could help all children avoid: Last fall in the state of Georgia, 15 high school students aged 15-17 were identified as victims in what is basically a child-pornography distribution case. The distributors were their classmates, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) reported this week. In interviews with the victims, local and state law enforcement discovered that a group of male students had been sharing pornographic images of themselves and encouraging female classmates to do the same. "According to investigators, some girls were peer-pressured into taking inappropriate images of themselves and sending them to the boys. Others complied with the boys’ requests for pictures because they had crushes on the boys. Many of the girls suffered from low self-esteem or did not understand the seriousness of the situation because 'everybody is doing it.' Few realized their images were being circulated throughout the school and, in one case, traded with a suspect in the United Kingdom. In another case, one of the boys was charging students at the school $25 to view graphic images of one of the female victims. As of this writing, investigators have tracked down hundreds of images, and at least one video, involving these victims." The investigation continues - the police don't think they've identified all the victims yet - and "it is undecided at this time what criminal charges, if any, will be filed." NCMEC says investigators hope the case will spark discussion about Internet safety.

This case may not be as extreme or unusual as we'd like to think: Within 24 hours of receiving this report from the National Center, I received an email from a parent in another state. She was asking for advice because a group of teen girls she knew of were "being pressured into sending nude pictures of themselves to male classmates." I suggested she contact NCMEC (800.843.5678). [See "Self-published child porn," which I posted in mid-2004 and this similar story from India in 2005. Here's the NCMEC's report on the Georgia case.]

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5 Comments:

OpenID Davide Marquês said...

Hello Anne,

Thank you so much for publishing this blog.
I'm of those IT guys that luckly went astray into studying the social aspects of technology. :)
Reading your blog brought me perspectives I wouldn't have access to - in that I'm not a parent yet.

One word about this post: shock! :|
I never expect children to be distributing child porn! Which in turn triggered some other thoughts.

Thanks for that! :)

8:21 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

You're welcome, Davide. That's the goal of this pretty basic approach to tech ed - more parents and educators need to know about IT and more IT and marketing people need to know about what people can get into with tech when they're doing typical adolescent risk assessment and ID exploration (not to mention what people get into when they're actually looking for trouble!) Tx for your comment,
Anne

1:10 AM  
Blogger Jamison said...

Anne, I am a technology coordinator for a school in Alabama. I manage techtipsforparents.org for the 1,200 parents of my school.

Could I re-post this on my blog, with of course, a link back to your site?

I will put no google ads on your reposted article as I think this message is very important for my parents to see.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

Absolutely, Jamison. You have my permission. All best,
Anne

3:41 PM  
Blogger Jamison said...

thanks anne, I would like you to consider spending a half hour or an hour with me on my internet radio show to discuss issues liek this one day.

www.blogtalkradio.com/techtips is the site I host my show from. Please consider it, I think it will help many folks.

2:40 PM  

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