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Monday, April 19, 2010

MD case of middle-schooler sharing 'sexts' for $

Seems kind of like the new "Risky Business" (meaning the 1980s film about the suburban Chicago high school student who turned his house into a weekend brothel to make some money on the side). The digital version of the exploitation – a student selling views of sexy or nude photos of peers, to peers – is less physical but affects more kids and can go on forever (see "The Net effect)." What I'm talking about is a new twist on sexting at an even younger age: a Bethesda, Md., middle school student renting his iPod Touch out to classmates so they can view "images of female classmates and other girls in various states of undress," according to the Washington Post. Pyle Middle School authorities last week turned the investigation over to local police, who are "trying to determine how a middle school boy came to amass such a large collection of provocative images" of 6th-, 7th, and 8th-graders." The Post adds that they want to make sure the girls weren't coerced into sending or posing for the photos, which have reportedly been passed around for months, but neither coercion nor adult involvement seem to be factors so far. The Post links to a message on adolescent development and cellphones Pyle Middle School's principal sent to parents just this month. [For another disturbing angle on the sexting issue, see this report from PennLive.com about school officials in Pennsylvania under investigation for mishandling student sexting photos (thanks to the Center for Safe & Responsible Internet Use for pointing this out.]

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