by: Greg Suskin Updated:
ROCK HILL, S.C. - Humiliation, depression, even suicide. So-called sexting has become a huge problem among teenagers.
On Thursday, school leaders in Fort Mill, Rock Hill and the solicitor's office joined forces to unveil an effort to combat the issue.
Students in fort mill and rock hill put together two public service announcement about sexting. One video shows a girl getting a text message asking her to send a naked picture of herself to a friend.
She does, and the aftermath is the worst humiliation imaginable to a high school student.
"I would hate to see someone I know going through something like that," said Josh Massey, a senior at South Pointe High School in Rock Hill.
Massey is one of the students involved in making the video, which has a message of "don't pass it on."
He said even teens who have not seen an obscene picture on a cellphone, know that it's all around them.
"I haven't personally seen it, but I know it happens. I mean I hear about it all the time," Massey said.
The PSA Fort Mill students made shows boys in a locker room, passing an obscene picture on, from one phone to another. Once the picture is sent, then destructive impact is out of their hands.
Fort Mill High School was rocked this week when Channel Nine learned a student, Brandon Mayer, was charged for allegedly showing a video in class of himself having sex with an ex-girlfriend. She never knew she had been recorded.
Fort Mill High Principal Dee Christopher said there was one sexting case all of last school year there. He's heard of 10 so far this year.
Christopher said once that picture or video spreads no one can control the reaction. However, counselors are available to try and protect and support the victim. The case at Fort Mill High was reported by students who saw the obscene video. Christopher said they've all been spoken to about it.
"We told them, this student who was a victim in this case, try to think of it from their side," he said. "Don't spread the story."
Solicitor Kevin Brackett worked with school districts to get the message out that kids can be arrested, and sent to prison. He said because the content when it involves teens is considered child pornography, it's illegal to have, or to send to someone else.
"We have to protect them from their own bad decisions sometimes," Brackett said. "They may think they've met the love of their life at 16, and that person would never send those pictures to someone else. They just don't know. Don't take the images in the first place."
The PSAs will be shown to middle and high school students in fort mill and rock hill schools. Parents will also receive an email with a link to the videos and additional information.
Brackett said, parents need to step up, be involved and pay attention to what their children are doing with their phones and mobile devices.
"You paid for the devices that they're carrying around in their pocket, so you have a right to go into them," he said.
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