Group warns that Valley teens could be 'sexting'

Photos sent to one person can end up on websites or anywhere else.

To many parents, the term "sexting" may be obscure but it TMs a growing trend in today's youth. More and more teenagers are getting caught "sexting" or sending racy, revealing text messages or even nude pictures of themselves on their cell phones. Ana de la Cruz with the Family Crisis Center in Harlingen told Action 4 News that she's seen the nationwide trend in here in the Rio Grande Valley.

"In this area, I am not too sure whether anyone has been found criminally responsible for 'sexting' but I know there have been some cases here in Texas," she said.

Back in October, a Texas 8th grader spent the night in juvenile after his football coach found a nude picture of a fellow student on his cell phone. According to a January survey, about 20% of teens admitted to participating in sending sexually-themed text messages.De la Cruz told Action 4 News that most of the times, children don TMt realize the serious consequences their actions can have. "Potential students or potential graduates that are looking for a job this can really damage their future," she said.

De la Cruz said it can be devastating when a sexually-themed cell phone picture gets into the wrong hands.

She said in some cases, child pornography and soliciting a minor charges are possible.

De la Cruz said parents need to be alert to how their children use their cell phones.

"Doing your research just as much as these kids are doing their research, look online and look for new websites that have become available sometimes it will just give you a Google search," she said.