HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A 15-year-old Socastee High School student found himself in trouble for being accused of sending out nude pictures. It's a story WMBF News brought to you last week, and made us wonder what happens after incidents like this make the news.
Horry County Senior Solicitor Caroline Fox said the goal is to keep kids out of court, but each case is circumstantial. The law says distributing a nude photo is a crime punishable by a lifetime listing on the sex offender registry, possibly time behind bars and a felony charge of dissemination of obscenity
The kids involved at Socastee High School could find themselves in trouble for sending out and asking for nude pictures. However, Fox said putting kids on the sex offender list isn't a priority. Education is the priority, she said.
"You send this picture, all anybody has to do is screen shot it and it is there forever," Fox said. The problem is kids don't realize the consequences.
Fox said like every juvenile case, right now the solicitor asks the defendants for an initial appearance. Officials gather as much information as they can to decide what to do.
Fox said situations like this usually end in an educational diversion program, and records could be expunged one day. But, that doesn't mean the consequences of sexting will disappear completely.
"Because that's what they're showing...how little respect for women and there girls are showing how little respect they have for themselves...and I don't think they realize this can go on your college application. That picture of you up on the side of your college application, guess what...it can be that picture you send a guy when you were thirteen," Fox said.
Fox said parents need to monitor, be more protective and knowledgeable about what can be and is on their child's phone. She encourages parents to know all passwords, check their child's pictures, text messages and messages on apps like Facebook and Instagram. She said phone apps like Snapchat pose the biggest threat because those messages disappear after read. She said the best thing for your child is a flip phone.
"I think that the laws need to be addressing this and need to be addressing it in terms of boyfriend/girlfriend situation...versus somebody sending it out because they asked you to and disseminating it. I mean, if there were a way your camera wouldn't take a picture of you if you were naked, I would love that," Fox said.
Read the Socastee High School sexting story here: Socastee High student accused of distributing nude pictures in group text