An illegal selfie

A ‘selfie’ could land your child in jail.

As more and more kids have smartphones, it opens the door for them to send photos, some inappropriate, that could have minors facing child pornography charges.

We look into what kind of photos you need to make sure your child isn’t sending.

You see them all over social media….it was even Oxford Dictionaries’ word of 2013: selfie.

But it’s a snapshot – that could have lifetime consequences.

“Let’s say you have a boyfriend and a girlfriend. Girlfriend takes picture and forwards it to boyfriend. Two weeks later, boyfriend is no longer boyfriend and forwards that picture on to 10 other people. Then you’ve got 10 other people up in the snare of basically engaging in the sexual exploitation of a child,” Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor said.

Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor says anyone under the age of 18 who takes a naked photo, even of themselves and then sends it….is taking part in sexual explotiation of a child and the distribution of child porn.

And the person who receives the image, even if they didn’t ask for it to be sent to them….could face charges such as *posession of child porn.

“They could be arrested, they could be taken to the juvenile justice authority….they could be criminally charged in this building. And they could be sentenced to a period of incarceration,” Taylor said.

One app that is really popular is Snapchat.

And here is how it works: it allows you take a photo or video…..and send it out to certain people.

On the app there is a timer, and that image will pop up for anywhere up to 10 seconds…then, it just disappears.

But here’s the problem – sometimes it isn’t gone in just seconds.

Before the image goes away – users could take a screenshot of it …saving it forever.

“if they come in and beg for mercy and say, “I didn’t understand and this isn’t what it appears to be,” the reality of it is that ….in getting hit with a sex crimes felony as a young adult, it’s going to make it damn near impossible for them to join the military, obtain a security clearance for a job….or in some cases, to even get into colleges,” Taylor said.

Taylor says even if a person is convicted while under the age of 18 – that felony will stay on their record the rest of their life.

It may be a next generation of technology…..but the old advice stays the same: parents need to monitor their child’s smartphone and what they are doing with it.

Because in a matter of seconds….just one photo could last forever.

“If you take that image and distribute it to one person, you might as well expect for it to be published on the front page of the newspaper the next day. Because as soon as you forward any piece of digital information, you absolutely lose control of it.”

Snapchat says on its website…” anyone younger than 13 is prohibited from setting up accounts.”

We have a link to resources from the Kansas Attorney General about technology safety and kids.

For more information, click here.

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