Colorado Sexting Scandal is a Parent (and School) Nightmare

The recent sexting incident to come out of a Colorado high school sheds a whole new light on just how serious teens sending nude images to one another has become.

Apparently, approximately 100 students at Cañon City High School exchanged hundreds of nude photos, according to The New York Times – anywhere from 300 to 400 pictures. Authorities believe teens in the photos ranged from middle school to high school ages. As NYT reports, students made this sexting photo trade into somewhat of a contest by setting up a point system by which to rank people.

It was only discovered when some students called the anonymous Safe2Tell hotline with tips, CNN reports, leading to a felony investigation.

How could all of this go unnoticed for so long? This massive “sexting ring” was kept private by something of a nightmare for parents and teachers: Phone apps that allow users to secretly store photos. These “photo vaults” or “ghost apps” actually look like normal smartphone programs, such as a calculator, but can hide saved photos, videos and more from the eyes of adults, the Washington Post reports.

While sexting among teens isn’t uncommon these days, it’s still horrifying to think apps like this exist, making it easier for teens to secretly indulge in such behaviors (and harder for adults to discover and stop it).

And while this likely hasn’t been a treat for the school to deal with, it sounds like they’re handling it as appropriately as possible. The school canceled an upcoming football game due to many players’ roles in the scandal, CNN notes. Plus, officials are coming up with education for the students on proper use of technology – and they’ve encouraged parents to address sexting directly with their kids, CNN reports.

This whole incident speaks to just how commonplace sexting has become, and is a reminder of the importance of talking to teens about the dangers and implications. These kids are facing huge consequences if the investigation results in charges.

Comment and tell us what you think about this situation. Did you know about these “photo vault” apps?

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