TORONTO — Police are warning teenagers of the dangers of “sexting” after numerous students are facing consequences for sending nude photos to one another.
Durham Regional Police (DRPS) said a parent reported that nude photos of her child’s female classmate were being circulated by a male classmate in November.
Police said up to 10 teenagers, aged 13 to 15, had allegedly been involved with the sharing of nude photos at several different schools in Durham Region.
“We launched the investigation after learning that there were some very disturbing images being passed between students at different schools between Oshawa and Whitby,” said DRPS Sgt. Bill Calder, adding that there could be more victims.
“Some of those images depicted females that had exposed themselves, naked photos of the girls, and they were passing them on to who they thought were friends. And of course from there the information got to other people and it spread around.”
Police have entered into “diversion contracts” with the teens, which are agreements that must be followed in order to prevent criminal charges being laid.
“A diversion contract is basically a way to avoid the court process but still have some consequences,” Calder said.
“Whether it be anything from writing essays or doing some kind of community service but they have to fulfill the commitment they’re making to us with that contract or else it will go right back to the criminal courts again.”
Investigators are also reminding the public that making and sharing nude photos of minors is a serious offence and that child pornography includes naked or semi-naked photos or video of anyone under 18.
“Even if it’s a friend of yours, someone that you know or a stranger to you, you can’t be viewing it, you can’t be sharing it, you can’t be creating it — those are all offences under the Criminal Code and that’d be a terrible criminal record for someone at that age to have on their file,” Calder said.
“Our message is really to the parents in this case here to make sure that they’re just aware of what the kids are doing online.”
Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact DRPS or Crime Stoppers.
With files from Angie Seth