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Shocking! Teens on Sexting

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Teens speak out about why they send sexually explicit messages and images to one another. Their answers will make you want to confiscate your kids' phones.

Recently, teenager Jessica Logan committed suicide after her boyfriend broke up with her and fowarded lurid pictures she had sent to him to hundreds of people. She was afraid to go to school and ended up hanging herself in her room. Jessica isn't alone. 39% of teens reportedly participate in the phenomenon of sexting ... but why? Are they trying to get attention? Is it peer pressure? On "Tyra" today, teens tell the truth about why they do it ... and what they say will shock you.

To find out when "Tyra" airs in your area, check your local listings.

So what if you discover your teen has been "sexting"? Are you legally liable for your child's behavior?

Momlogic spoke with attorney Robin Sax, a former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney who specialized in prosecuting sex crimes against children. She's the author of six books, including Predators and Child Molesters: What Every Parent Needs to Know To Keep Kids Safe. She says prosecutors might know a picture was sent from your kid's phone (that you pay for), but don't know exactly who sent it. "I think they would have a hard time charging the parents in that case," Sax explains. "Even if you own the phone, that doesn't make you criminally liable unless you sent the picture yourself. And they would have a hard time proving the parents sent the picture beyond a reasonable doubt."

However, she says you could possibly face a civil suit. "From a civil point of view, the parents could potentially be sued. In a civil suit, they're going after the money -- and who has the money? The parents," she says. "The standard of proof is much lower in a civil suit. If you own the phone and you pay the phone bills, you're deemed to have ownership and control, so you could be found liable. Also, do parents have a duty to protect and monitor their child? This might also come into play during a civil case."

next: I Saw Him First!!
23 comments so far | Post a comment now
Mrs. B March 20, 2009, 7:23 AM

This is exactly why I believe when a child/teenager has a phone, it should be known to the cell phone carrier that the phone belongs to a juvenile; therefore, the cellular phone company should provide the parents or owner of the phone a weekly log of what has been text (in and out going). I feel the exact same way about MySpace. If a juvenile is logged onto MySpace, a log should be sent to the parent/guardians of the communications between their child/children and others. Technology is honestly the downfall of todays teenagers. Just my opinion.

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