Educators share how they teach kids about the dangers of sending inappropriate messages

PADUCAH — Do your children know the consequences of posting or sending inappropriate messages or photos?

One local school district is making sure their students know — and take disciplinary actions.

“If you were to Google your name, what pictures would show up?” That’s a question McKayla Everly often asks her technology students at Paducah Middle School.

She knows students talk, so she steps in when students talk about sending inappropriate messages or photos.

“This is serious,” Everly said. “This isn’t Ms. Everly just teaching a lesson. This is the real deal that involves legal issues that can affect the rest of your life.”

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy says nearly 40 percent of teens send sexual text messages.

And 17 percent of them share that message with others.

Many don’t realize they’re committing a crime. Those photos are considered child pornography.

Everly tells her students that once you put something on the internet, it stays there forever. 

“No matter if you can find it in 10 seconds or 10 minutes, the authorities can find it and it’s out there,” Everly said.

The school’s Wi-Fi does not let students log onto social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat.

Paducah Public Schools Director of Pupil Personnel Troy Brock said a cell phone is a privilege, not a right.

The responsibilities start at home.

“They know their children better than anybody,” Brock said. “It’s going to have to be a matter of setting boundaries with the phone, what it should be used for and what it shouldn’t be used for, and certainly be plain with your child about the consequences at home.”

An adult found guilty of possessing child pornography could be sentenced to five years or more in prison depending on the age of the child and the nature of the photos or messages.

For more on this story and others, follow Pauline Fitzgerald on Facebook or Twitter.

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