PUEBLO, CO — The Pueblo Police Department is raising awareness once again about the dangers of sexting.
Sexting can lead to harassment, and what's called sextortion. Cases are rising in the summer months among teenagers.
The biggest warning for minors is sending nude photos. What might seem like innocent fun can follow someone for the rest of their life.
Pueblo police have seen numerous reports involving inappropriate pictures being sent between young boyfriends, girlfriends, and other acquaintances.
According to thorn.org, one in six kids aged 9 to 17 have shared a nude image with someone, and 41% of those kids shared them with someone they believed to be an adult.
This can lead the way to sextortion which happens when adults blackmail minors with their own images for money, personal information, or other sexual acts.
Police can't emphasize enough; parents need to talk with their kids.
Sergeant Franklyn Ortega with the Pueblo police says, “Start the conversation. And it's just as simple as 'This is what's going on, and I want to talk to you about it. And make sure that, you know, you're not involved with this kind of thing. And if somebody's asking you for inappropriate things like nude pictures or stuff like that, that you let me know'. That way they can intervene and stop it."
Anyone caught sextorting a minor can face criminal charges of harassment, illegal posting of private images, and extortion.
Depending on the case, minors themselves can also face these same charges.
One of the most important things you can do for your child is to be there if they ask for help.
Thorn is an organization that fights to end child sextortion. They offer help for victims and tips for adults.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children provides resources and support for anyone who needs it.
If you want to file a report of sexual exploitation of a minor, you can visit Cyber Tipline.
You can visit here to learn how to remove explicit content from popular platforms.
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