LAS VEGAS - Parent Megan Mitchell says other parents should keep a closer eye on their kids' cell phone use. Mitchell has a nine-year-old son.
"In my case, I want to make sure my son is able to contact me in case of an emergency, but he doesn't have text messaging or picture messaging," she said. "Parents have the capability to tell the providers to cut that portion off the phone. All kids are doing it. Don't be oblivious and say, ‘That's not my child.' Yes, it is your child."
Some teens, meanwhile, wouldn't think of sexting at school. "It can get out, and you're just embarrassing yourself if it does," said 18-year-old Stephanie Palacio.
The Clark County District Attorney's office says the problem is becoming more common.
"I'd say we're seeing more," said Mary Brown, Chief District Attorney for the office's Juvenile Division. "I don't know if it's because it's more of it out there or if it's because people are now recognizing that it's a delinquent offense, whereas before, they chalked it up to just kids stuff."
Even though students are told not to use phones in class, a student can send a picture via text message in seconds. The consequences, however, last much longer.
"Sometimes, the school district will intervene and address it with a student. Sometimes, the police will intervene and address it with a child or their parent," Brown said.
Both Nye and Clark County schools say punishment for sexting varies case-by-case. If the case comes across Brown's desk, the punishment ranges from counseling to time spent in a juvenile detention facility.
Some teens and parents opt not to pay that penalty.
"I don't really use it for that, just texting, calling, but that's it," Palacio said.
"You use it for what you need to use it for, and that's it," Mitchell said.
Investigators with Metro Police say, in some cases, if a 17-year-old could be tried as an adult. That means they would have to register as a sex offender.
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