The Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office has received complaints from parents in recent days about a serious issue involving children

...the use of social media to send and receive nude and semi-nude photos of themselves and their peers.  Sheriff Julian Whittington says this can't be dismissed as "childs' play." He says it's a serious matter that could land young people in jail and adults branded for life as a registered sex offender.  He's asking parents and the public in general to help get the word out about how serious the situation is.

Here are some tips parents can take to help prevent sexting and child pornography.

  • First, be their parent and get involved in their lives.   Talk to your children, get in their business, and if you know they are engaging in sexting or child pornography, let them know you will not tolerate this type of activity.
  • Monitor your child’s use of their cell phones or computers.  Set boundaries on their cell phone use or even limit the number of texts that can be sent per month.
  • Teach your children about the dangers associated with sexting and child pornography, such as criminal charges they could face.
  • Encourage your children NOT to respond to or forward any sexting messages or videos they receive.
  • Help your children understand that once they post a photo or video to a social media site or send to a ‘friend’, the photo or video is now out there for others to see, even if they delete it from their own source.
  • Sexting may be a way your child is crying out for help.  Again, it goes back to the first point – be their parent and get to know what is going on in their lives.

If your child or another child you know is a victim of sexting or child pornography, please contact your local law enforcement agency to report it.  Don’t delay.