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Parents asked to talk to teens about sexting

One of the state’s largest school districts sent their students on Winter Break with a warning for every parent about their kids’ cellphone use, particularly sexting.

The Davis School District is alerting parents to what they call a dangerous trend.

A concerning number of students using their phones to send explicit pictures and video of themselves and others. They do it either via text-messaging, or through apps such as Kik, SnapChat, and WhatsApp.

Authorities warn some students have even been extorted for more pictures.

District leaders are encouraging families to have conversations about safe phone policies over the break. They also want parents to take advantage of parental control options.

Davis district will send out information at the start of the year, that will list consequences for violating safe school policies.

Safe School coordinators say teens may sext for a variety of reasons. They may be trying to establish intimacy with a boyfriend or girlfriend, impress a crush, or be funny. Others may feel pressured into sexting by boyfriends or girlfriends who may threaten to break up with them if they don’t send a picture.

Teens may not believe or be able to foresee a situation in which the person they send a sext to chooses to share that image with others. However, it does happen and the consequences can be academically, socially and emotionally devastating.

The District has a list of tips and resources for parents, including just what to say to your kids, here

One reliable resource for all ages is www.netsmartz.org

There is also the “Send This Instead” App. It can empower kids, giving them a voice when they are under pressure to send intimate images of themselves online.

The Deseret News wrote an investigations piece this fall about sexting here