Mounties investigate 'sexting' at local secondary school

RCMP looking into possible 

by MIKE LLOYD AND DEAN RECKSIEDLER

Posted Apr 13, 2017 7:40 am PDT

Last Updated Apr 13, 2017 at 7:48 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

Mounties investigate 'sexting' at local secondary school

What is your child up to? Concerns raised after 'sexting' reported at Langley school

LANGLEY (NEWS 1130) – The RCMP is investigating an incident involving possible nude picture requests at a high school in Langley.

The Mounties were called to Brookswood Secondary School last Thursday for reports of requests being made by a student using a school-owned tablet.

“According to the Administration at Brookswood Secondary, upon the immediate return and inspection of the school-owned equipment (an iPad), it has been determined that school-owned equipment was not used in an inappropriate manner and that a personal device may have been used in the incident,” says Ken Hoff, the communications manager for the Langley School District.

In an email, Hoff states, “once it was established that school-based equipment was not involved, the matter was not for the school or district to investigate further… as it has been determined that the school and district is not directly involved in this incident it is not appropriate for further comment.”

A spokesperson for the Langley RCMP confirms officers were dispatched to Brookswood Secondary last Thursday and are following up on the incident but, at this point, it is too early to make a comment.

However, Corporal Holly Largy suggested school liaison officers across the district deal with sexting issues on a regular basis.

Victoria-based Internet safety expert Darren Laur isn’t surprised. “We know at the high school level here in Canada that the latest statistics show one-in-four are sexting, sending nude pictures of themselves to others,” he tells NEWS 1130. “But I must emphasize a lot of these pictures are being sent peer-to-peer, they’re not necessarily being sent from a student to a potential online predator. It usually happens within the school.

Laur has spoken to hundreds of thousands of students in schools across North America about the risks associated with sexting. He suggests many parents are burying their heads in the sand.

“Parental abdication on this issue, as well as a lot of the issues surrounding social media safety, is significant. Like it or not, the hyper-sexualization — what I call the pornification — of our youth online is significant right now and if we as parents don’t start talking to our kids about it, then we are leaving it to the porn industry to do it for us. That is a recipe for disaster.”

Laur believes parents need to do more to help their children realize that what they post online can have long-lasting, life-changing consequences.

“It’s public, permanent, searchable, exploitable, copyable and for sale, even if you hit the delete button. A lot of times these pictures students are sending don’t stay private. Once they get out there, they absolutely ruin young people’s lives,” he explains.

He adds more than one-third of the 144 interventions he has assisted with where kids are considering self harm or suicide involved issues where sexting had gone wrong.

“Students don’t think about consequences, they think about the here and now, and what we find with parents is that they are absolutely astonished kids are turning to technology to sexually experiment.”

While he points to research suggesting some sexting behaviour is simply normal sexual development, “what this generation doesn’t understand is the dangers of doing it within the digital world and that once you post it or hit the send button, there is no pulling it back.”

Laur recommends parents become more aware of their children’s online activities. “It’s all about family participation and communication with parents. This is not a school issue. Schools have a part to play but parents have an even bigger part and we need to start sitting down with our kids and talking about the issue — from consent to human sexuality to everything else around why youth are sexting.”

Laur feels those discussions can help prevent tragedy.


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