Teens Posting Nude Photos on Instagram Could Leave Criminal Results

5:53 PM, Apr 2, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- It only takes a few seconds to snap a picture and post it online or send it to a friend.

News19 has received reports of some very private pictures of teens posted online for anyone to see, along with their names and high school.

A viewer let us know about an Instagram account posting nude pictures of high school students from across Columbia.

Instagram is an online social photo sharing application site that many people use through their phones.

We contacted school districts in the Columbia area about the situation, but they are currently on spring break and not everyone responded. 

Richland One did say they were not aware of the online postings affecting any of their schools.

The Columbia Police Department and Richland County Sheriff's Department also said they had not received reports about the situation.

The account that posted the pictures is no longer accessible, but you can still find discussion of it on some social media sites, with some young people condemning the situation.

"They don't realize that this silly, flippant behavior is actually the act of a felony," said South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson.

He says taking, sending, saving and posting sexually explicit photos of children under the age of 18 can bring fines, jail time and in some cases classification as a sex offender.

"Whether you're doing it by email, whether you're doing it on Facebook, or Instagram or Twitter, or using the regular U.S. mail system, if you transmit it in any capacity digital or physical you're disseminating child pornography," said Wilson.

His office has an Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force that works to fight issues like child pornography, whether teens know their actions fall under that category or not.

"People think of child pornography as you're looking at pictures of children, usually from Europe or far, far away. They don't think of pornography as being themselves and 15-year-olds and it's consensual," he said,

For the last few years, state lawmakers have unsuccessfully tried to pass sexting legislation to teach young people about the consequences without having to deal with the situation for the rest of their lives.

For now, Wilson says it is best for parents to have a serious conversation with their children about how serious the crime is.

"That iPhone, that Droid can open up a whole new dangerous world to a young person who doesn't actually understand the power that's out there," said Wilson.



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