East Texas teens weigh in on dangers of picture messaging

East Texas teens weigh in on dangers of picture messaging

HUNTINGTON, TX (KTRE) - A picture is worth a thousand words, and a thousand more if the image gets in the wrong hands. After a survey of seventh through 10th-graders, every single student admitted they have seen the effects of various forms of sexting in their schools.

Two Huntington 10th-graders said it has a large social impact on students who send inappropriate pictures.

"It's really embarrassing, and you can't take it back," said Huntington sophomore Hanna Wilson.

"It really hurts their friendships," said sophomore Cailyn Bartlett.

A pair of freshmen boys shed light on what happens after a suggestive picture is received.

"Most likely they are going to get them and show their friends," Sawyre Thornhill said.

"It's almost like bragging rights, saying that you can get them from somebody," Nathan Jones said.

I asked the freshmen boys how easy it to get these photos.

"Pretty easily, you could," Jones said.

"I could probably ask one of my friends," Thornhill said.

All the way down to seventh grade, students are still victim to this behavior. I asked the seventh-graders, "Is it more of an 8th grade thing, or is it an entire middle school thing?"

"No there's a couple people in our grade who have received some of those," said Jackson Page.

For parents, it is an even scarier thing to be unaware of what's happening on these handy devices.

Licensed marriage and family therapist Dr. Debra Burton cautions parents and children about the dangers of sending personal images.

"The moment you send something...a picture, an inappropriate text...it is out of your control," said Burton. "Parents also need to educate their kids that they're potentially exposing themselves to sexual predators."

Barton encourages parents to be aware of signs like isolation, irritability, and abnormal texting times, as these may be indicators of dangerous texting behavior.

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