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Teen Suspected Of Using Nude Photos To Extort Sex

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Emily Poisel / Creative Commons
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Smartphones are at the center of a growing number of sexual extortion cases at American high schools

A Homestead teen was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of using nude photographs to extort sex from two younger high school classmates. It’s the latest  in a growing trend of  sexting-related cases seen at schools around the country.

The alleged incidents at Homestead Senior High School followed a familiar script: A boy using the telephone-messaging app KIK contacted girls demanding nude photos and threatening revenge if they refused.

Nancy Jo Sales, author of American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers, says this scenario presents a kind of Catch 22: “If they don’t send them, there is this threat of something else happening to them, and if they do send them, those nudes can get forwarded; they can be shared.”

    Sales says parents, schools and law enforcement are all struggling to grasp the full extent of the online world American teenagers inhabit. “The technology has introduced situations and behaviors that simply did not exist prior to now,” she says.

And while cases that go as far as coerced sex have not often been reported in the media, Sales says, “If the potential is there for it to happen, it’s probably happening.”