FBI warning teens about trading sexually-explicit images - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

FBI warning teens about trading sexually-explicit images

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - The Federal Bureau of Investigations has been visiting local, private and public high school students after receiving disturbing information about online activity of some of the island's kids. It's news all parents should be aware of - what could be happening when your child goes online.

High schoolers, consider yourselves warned. "We don't like to be in the business of threatening high school kids, but it is important that people know that we're not going to sit by and watch children's images be traded online by anyone without us taking some actions," explained FBI special agent and press spokesperson Tom Simon. He says it recently came to the feds attention that several local high school students have been trading sexually explicit images of children with one another online.  Simon couldn't disclose how it came to their attention, but it was serious enough for the feds to take action.

He added, "Rather than rushing out and arresting Guam high school students, we thought the more reasonable and human approach would be to have the FBI do outreach at the schools and explain the law to these kids. We want to put them on notice that possession and trading of child porn is a federal crime and this behavior has to stop immediately."

FBI agents have visited four schools to date speaking with high school students at Academy of Our Lady of Guam, Notre Dame, Father Duenas; and Wednesday at George Washington High School. Assistant principal Luz Annette Payumo told KUAM News, "The reason for this assembly is because of the texting, the Facebook, it's all about technology violations. Students need to be aware that this is a law and you don't go out there posting pictures of yourself, especially pictures when you're nude and sending them out. This is a strict violation that you don't send this out - especially with minors. That's when the authorities step in."

The FBI warns teens that such online activity is a federal offense that comes with serious jail time in excess of five years. "Teenagers do dumb things," said Simon. "It's part of growing up That's why we're letting them know the types of online behavior that could destroy their future so these kids don't make any irrevocable mistakes."

Simon says parents need to be vigilant and create a discussion with their kids and understand how their teens may be using technology and social networks. And to high school students who are perpetrating these videos and pictures, Simon said, "If folks have actually done this and they feel bad about it they can actually delete the images and don't pass them on to anyone else - no harm, no foul. But if this continues after these high school students have been warned.

"My conscience is clear: the FBI may be coming after them with local law enforcement."

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