Minors in Possession of Child Porn, Cyber Bullying Could Face Ja - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Minors in Possession of Child Porn, Cyber Bullying Could Face Jail Time

By Alicia Neaves
NewsWest 9

It may seem like a joke to teens, sending naked pictures of other teens to their friends. But under the law, that's child pornography. Adults go to jail but what happens to minors who commit the same crime?

We've all heard of some situation where a minor sends an explicit picture to their significant other or somebody they trust. Shortly after, that picture ends up all over Facebook and other social media sites. From there, it's either up to them or their parents to put out the wildfire.

We've heard it too often. A teen committing suicide after being cyber bullied. Many times they are betrayed by those they trust the most.

"Folks who they thought were their friends can be complicit so it's like trust issues all across the spectrum," Student Doctor, Yidong Chen, said.

Sometimes a picture meant for one is instead shared over the Internet, destined for thousands. So what can we do to prevent it?

"If they are having access to smart phones, their capabilities to take pictures and transmit those pictures over the Internet should be severely restricted," Dr. Bobby Jain, Psychiatrist, Associate Professor and Regional Chair at Texas Tech Health Science Center at the Permian Basin, said.

Doctors say digital smartphones are a safe choice. But what if the photo is already out there? Parents can contact the host of the website and ask for the picture to be taken down or report it as offensive. But the one thing they can't erase is the emotional effect on the victim.

"They get negative feedback from people who have seen these pictures. They get negative feedback for a much longer period of time. That results in, of course, self isolation, depression and anxiety," Jain said.

Any minor distributing explicit photos could face a Class A, B or C misdemeanor, which includes jail time and/or a fine. The severity of the punishment depends on the minor's criminal history.

"It may be a wake up call for many parents that what you're seeing is just the tip of the iceberg. There's a lot going on behind the scenes with your troubled teen," Jain said.

Just to be safe than sorry, it's better to never take or share any explicit photos.

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