#cyberbullying | #cyberbully | Teen sexting may be rising during COVID-19 pandemic

Eau Claire (WQOW) – During this pandemic, technology is keeping people connected, whether it be for business or for pleasure, but it also may have been a bit too helpful to stir crazy teens.

According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, ran by UW-Eau Claire criminal justice professor Justin Patchin, experts are speculating that the pandemic has brought on a rise in teen sexting, or sharing explicit images online or over text.

Patchin said he assumes a rise would be due to teens trying to connect outside of social distancing and gathering restrictions.

His own research shows that teen sexting has been on the rise since 2016, which is a concern considering the consequences these kids could face if their pictures circulate.

“That’s when there are some potentially big problems,” said Patchin. “Obviously, the reputation of the person depicted, and potentially, depending on a lot of different factors, legal consequences because technically speaking if you have an explicit image of a minor, that’s child pornography.”

Patchin added that stopping the problem isn’t as simple as scaring kids straight, and he encourages both parents and schools to teach kids about the danger of sexting.


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