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SEXTING: Teen spontaneity, peer pressure big factors - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

SEXTING: Teen spontaneity, peer pressure big factors

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SHREVEPORT - BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTBS) -

The by-products of sexting can be far-reaching, but the reason kids do it is often impulsive and under peer pressure.

"These pictures that are submitted, they can be out there forever. You don't know where they're going."

Eddie Millhollon, Director of Clinical Services at The Center for Families in Shreveport says a good way for parents to approach the sexting conversation is to simply ask questions.

"Ask your adolescent 'what you do you think about this?' 'Are you being exposed to this?' 'Do you talk about this at school?'"

But once the deed is done, a child may open themselves up to cyber bullying, harassment, and worst-case scenario - teen suicide.

"Can you imagine the amount of humiliation these teens face? Everyday they're reminded of it. Children tease."

Licensed Professional Counselor Kathleen Rhodes says once an inappropriate pic is floating in cyberspace, it can come back to haunt, even years later.

"It may turn up in the college admissions process and in job opportunities," Rhodes explains.

"You don't want kids getting a lot of misinformation from their friends and other places," says Millhollon.

Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington called a press conference Jan. 29 to sound the alarm about the growing problem, not just in Bossier Parish, but across the nation.

He said BPSO was actively investigating a couple of cases in which sexting was involved that could lead to arrests.

Bossier Parish Schools distributed a letter from Whittington to students and parents acknowledging the issue, and offering tips to help prevent it.

Rhodes says for parents to encourage their teens to talk to each other about sexting.

She says hearing a discouraging word about it from a friend can often make a kid think twice before acting.

Some tips from the FBI for teens: before hitting send, remember you have no control over where the image will travel.

Even if you just forward a sexual image, you're responsible for it as the original sender.

Never take images of yourself you wouldn't want your classmates, teachers and family to see.

And immediately report any nude images you receive to an adult you trust, like a parent, guardian, or teacher.

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