Do the news reports, articles, and experts on teens and technology terrify you?  Yes?  Me, too!

As I search for information on teens, tweens, and technology, I find horrifying statistics and examples.  I decided to ask a police officer if these things are truly happening in the “real” world.

Officer Moe is the kind of guy who will do anything for anyone.  He has a strong faith and grew up with strong parents.  He is the father of a teenager and preschooler.  And, as you will read, he is gifted with wisdom.

Disclaimer:  This post contains PG-13 material!

What One officer wants us to know about teens, technology, and the law

Navigating the Years (NTY):

Thank you for talking to me about teens, technology, and what you see in the police department. I remember you once mentioned that you are seeing an increase in violence against women and teenage girls.  To what do you attribute this?

Officer Moe:

Porn that treats women disrespectfully. That is what sells.

Back in the day, teens had to get their hands on a magazine and the occasional VHS tape.  It was not this easy to access porn.

Nowadays, they have porn at their fingertips due to social media.  They click on a porn site and simply click on a button that says, “I am over 18.”  There is no age confirmation.

Most porn does not show the romance/caring/connection that one might see in a Hallmark Channel movie for example.  Parents need to educate their children how to properly respect and care for their partner.

I do not have the statistics for the increase in sexual battery cases or the specifics. Counsellors who work with the victims do.

When I meet college students, I have to determine if a crime has been committed.  When I hear some of their experiences, I will ask, “Why do you let him do these things to you?”

The girl often says, “Because I love him.”

I tell her, “If he loves you, he would not do these things to you.”

The girl will say, “But, he tells me he loves me.”

His words and his actions do not match.  Porn makes this seem normal to teenage boys [NTY note:  Porn can damage brains that have not finished developing which leads to future sexual dysfunction.].  This is not normal.  Both men and women should have equal voice and pleasure.

This happens in the reverse as well.  It happens to males, too.


Let’s talk about sexting for a minute.  Is it true that a naked picture of a teen on someone’s phone is considered child porn?  Do ages matter?

Officer Moe:

If both parties are over 18, and one sends the other a nude picture, it is considered a gift.  The receiver can send it to anyone.

However, the receiver cannot post it online.  The receiver cannot use the picture for blackmail or extortion.

A relatively new Florida State Statute (784.049) defines sexual cyberharassment.  [NTY note:  Check your state for its cyber laws]

In the clubs, 18-year-old males may get with 16-year-old females that they think are 18.  With early graduation happening, this is becoming more common.

If the under-age female sends a nude photo, he should delete it immediately.  If he shares the photo, then he has committed a felony crime.

The male should also proactively tell the police what happened.


Should he really go to the trouble, time, and maybe even embarrassment to tell the police?  Is deleting the image not enough?

Officer Moe:

Think about how it looks to the police.  If the police go into her phone and find that she sent it and he received it, he could theoretically be arrested, even if it is no longer on his phone.

It is best if he shares with them that he thought this girl was 18, later learned she was 16, she sent the picture, and he deleted it without sharing the picture.  He is protecting himself and his future.

As far as phone sex and nude pictures, I tell my teenager and other teenagers that real love won’t want to share private moments.

Anytime you abuse something, it loses its value. This goes for material items, human bodies, etc.

Anytime you abuse something, it loses its value. Click To Tweet


How does the law look at a High School Senior couple when one turns 18, but the other is still 17?

Officer Moe:

Generally, I look at consent and if the couple is in love versus if money or favors are exchanged.

If the couple is in love and consent is given, then the young “adult” may get a warning to stop until the younger person is of age.  If the young adult does not stop, then he or she may be arrested.  Obviously, if money or favors are exchanged, the young adult would be arrested immediately.


Tell us about cyber safety and what you see these days?  Do abductions from online correspondence really happen?

Officer Moe:

Cyberbullying and cyberstalking are against the law.

We are definitely seeing an increase in suicide attempts due to humiliation on social media. A school resource officer would be able to tell you more.

As far as abductions due to cyber activity, they do happen in small amounts.

Typically a teenager who feels neglected will desire attention no matter where it comes from.

Someone says things the teen wants to hear.  The person is fun and the emotional ride is wild.  The teen likes the attention and can lose his or her mind.  [NTY note:  Remember, the prefrontal cortex, home of the decision-making skills, is not fully developed yet!]

Once the teen is in deep with the person, it is hard to get out.  The teen may run away to be with the person.  This is when teens are vulnerable to human trafficking.

Whenever something is neglected, it is going to break down, whether it is a car, flower, or person.  The emotional spirit needs attention.  It takes power, strength, support, and self-esteem to get out of such as situation. 

Whenever something is neglected, it is going to break down. Click To Tweet

Final Thoughts

Parents, the principles that worked when we were younger still work today, even though technology has changed our lives dramatically.  Our teens need love, connection, and boundaries.

As Officer Moe said:

  • “If you neglect something, it’s going to break down.”
  • “If you abuse something, it loses its value.”

Thank you, Officer Moe, for your help in understanding the laws and your valuable insights!

For more information on Teens, Tweens, and Technology, please see the following posts in this series:

Rules Change.  Principles Stay the Same.  Part 1

Rules Change.  Principles Stay the Same.  Part 2

75+ Powerful Technology Questions You MUST Discuss with Your Teen/Tween

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Download and Print these Technology Discussion Questions for Free!

75+ Technology Questions for Discussions with Your Teen or Preteen - Download!

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Navigating the Years


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