ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) -- Sex and social media. Police in two Maryland counties are flooded with child pornography complaints. Turns out, the high school students are posting their own nude photos on public sites.
Monique Griego has the serious warning to parents.
Police say there is a fine line between students posting nude photos and child pornography. Even if a crime is not committed, police say those photos can still be very dangerous.
Local high school and even middle school students are filling their social media pages with revealing and even nude photos.
"I've seen the pictures of kids with no clothes on, and it's crazy," one parent said.
Vivien Brown knows what can happen and makes sure her teenage daughter is aware of the consequences.
"I remind her that it does live on forever," she said.
Still, the problem is widespread. According to Anne Arundel County Police, the pictures are leading to ongoing reports of child pornography to the department.
"They believe they're seeing child pornography on the Instagram, Vine or Twitter pages," said Lt. T.J. Smith, Anne Arundel County Police.
Smith says while the claims are always investigated: "A nude selfie in itself doesn't constitute child pornography."
According to police, the problems start after the picture goes viral.
Drew Fidler works with the Baltimore Child Abuse Center.
"It's a crime if an adult asks a child to take that picture and put it on Instagram. It's a crime when that picture gets out there and it's distributed," Fidler said.
This week, Baltimore County Police investigated nude pictures of students tied to Milford Mill Academy. The subjects turned out to be of age. The school still sent a letter home to parents.
Anne Arundel County investigators also say many of the sexually explicit photos reported to them show the students' high school.
"This is a different world we're in. This is a different 'birds and bees' conversation that parents of the new age children have to have," said Smith.
Police made it clear--they think parents need to be very nosy when it comes to social media.
Police say if you think a picture may be child pornography--always report it.
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