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Parenting Question/Dilemma (long-sorry!)

NCteacher

Senior Member
I haven’t been on in a really long time- for some reason I have trouble getting PT to load.

I have a DS who is 12 and a half. He’s a straight A student, and I think, a nice kid. He is also very trusting and naive. When he went to middle school last year, DH and I decided to make the sacrifices needed for him to attend a local private college prep school. Overwhelmingly, it has been the right choice and he has flourished there. He has made friends and the school is excellent when it comes to the different needs of middle schoolers. When DS turned 12, I got him an iPhone 8. It has parental controls and restrictions on that. He has handled it very well and knows that I will go through it frequently.

He has downloaded Discord on his phone and was using it to communicate with a couple of gaming friends. Tonight, he got really quiet and said “if I tell you something do you promise not to make a big deal about it?” I said I wanted to hear what he wanted to tell me and then we would discuss.

One of the kids at his school who has been kind of a jerk to many of the kids, sent DS 7-8 videos on Discord. Then he sent a message not to open the videos. DS watched three of them. One is a boy who looks to be in his early teens, then he hits the camera, and he is shaking his naked behind around. There is a video that shows two men having sex, and one video that shows two men performing oral. I am trying to stay calm. That child has been blocked from DS’s phone and Discord account. This happened outside of school hours, but it really upset DS. DH and I stressed that he had done the right thing by telling us.

My dilemma is- do I tell the school so they can contact the child’s parents? (I don’t know them). Or do I leave it at the discussion we had as a family tonight? One of the kids DS is friends with is the son of a teacher at the school. I know the teacher - should I let him know? I don’t want to betray my son’s trust, but I feel like some responsible adult should know what this kid is looking at and sharing online. (I am beyond ticked, but trying to set that to the side so that I can be calm)


I am not mentally prepared for these kinds of issues!
 
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tctrojan

Senior Member
I am not a parent

So preface anything I say in that frame.

I want to start by saying I think it is wonderful your son trusted you enough to share this with you.


I do not see it as a school issue. It did not happen at school, or using school property. I think maybe the kid regretted sending them. I wonder if he has sent them to other kids. I don't know how you find that out. I think I wouldbwant to know as a parent. There could be legal issues with sending porn, especially of the one with the teen. I would make sure they are deleted. Good luck.
 

NCteacher

Senior Member
Good points. This kid did send videos to two of the girls in the class that DS is friends with. All they would say was that they couldn’t say what they were about, but they are upset.
 

tctrojan

Senior Member
Problem

It sounds as if this kid has a problem which could have long-term consequences. Depending on what he is sending he could be placed on the sex offender registry. Do you know any of the other parents? Could a couple of you approach his parents? They would probably like to avoid that. His phone/internet access should be revoked.

I would approach your son with whatever you decide. He may not want his "friend" to face those type of consequences either. The young man may send images to someone young enough there may be a new layer of issues.
 

Violets2

Senior Member
Oh, the issues we deal with as our children age :( Personally, I wouldn't involve the teacher you know via DS unless both boys received the videos. I'd contact the school counseling department to ask how to handle this or even the police department. Since you're pretty sure these videos have been sent to other students, no way to trace it back to you, if that's what's you're concerned about.

How wonderful that DS shared with you.
 

tyrex

Senior Member
I would let the school know. The unofficial policy at my high school is that when social media posts outside of school become a significant disruption to the school day, it gets addressed by the school.

So think about it from that angle. Is it impacting DS or the girls in their classes? Is it making them uncomfortable being around the boy at school? Would they feel ok being partnered with him or assigned a seat next to him?

Also, if the people in the videos are underage, it is child porn (more correctly referred to as Child Sexual Abuse), which can have huge consequences for a student sending it and student recipients if they share the video with others.

Assuming the videos aren't of anyone underage, my school wouldn't do anything except talk to the kid and the parents. My school would have our SRO as part of the conversation, which is helpful in helping the kids see the gravity.

Absolutely do not involve the teacher. That's just passing the problem to him, and he will probably just pass it to admin to cover himself in his role as a teacher. Only involve the teacher if it from the perspective of parent of DS's friend, and you're also letting other friends parents know.

Good job, mom, on raising a son who isn't afraid to come to you!
 
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PEPteach

Senior Member
Sounds like you've raised a great kid!

I would do something. I would probably reach out to the school P or counselor. Even if you don't want him to get "in trouble", I think the child's parents should definitely be notified. If that were my child, I would be super upset if no one told me he was doing this.

I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. I can't imagine raising pre-teens/teens these days.
 

NCteacher

Senior Member
I don’t know the parents of the kid sending the videos and have no way of contacting them. I think maybe the guidance counselor or the headmaster of the middle school might be best. I agree- if my child were doing this, I would want to know as well. This kid has a history of misbehavior in and out of school.

I don’t want him to get in trouble, I just want to make sure that someone can help guide him so that he understands this is serious.
 

anna

Senior Member
I think your child has been victimized by the person who sent the material. Look up sexting laws in your state and contact authorities. Your child may suffer mentally or physically from this event so continue to keep a close eye on him. He is very fortunate to have you as a trusted parent that he can go to. He does not need to know you went to authorities.
 
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Keltikmom

Senior Member
Parenting question

You are doing an amazing job as a parent when your child trusts you to tell you this. And, it is clearly bothering him a lot or he wouldn’t have come to you.

I would get the school counselor involved. The boy who sent the videos may have only done it as a prank or possibly knows exactly what he’s doing. Either way, this is not something to sweep under the rug. And I agree that it is sexual harassment.
 

KetchupChips

Senior Member
Some great advice already given. Our school had a presentation for parents, and it was really informative. Unfortunately I can't locate my notes but I'll share what I can remember.

The best thing to come out of this, as mentioned by others, is that your son trusted you to share what happened. Second, you're doing the right thing by monitoring your son's technology use. Parents should have all the passwords. One important thing I learned was to not allow tech into your son's bedroom or bathroom - that is where kids can take and send photos of themselves in suggestive poses or worse.

Your situation: what happened was very serious and the boy who sent it probably doesn't know that. It's great that you have compassion for the boy. However, at the very least, it would be sexual harassment. But more likely it is illegal (sending pornography, perhaps child porn). Both police and school authorities need to be notified. You're right that even though it happened off campus, since it affects the school/students, it should be reported to the police. This was sent to several children so you'll be helping them as well your son.

Please let us know what happens.
 

anna

Senior Member
I'm wondering:



Are mandated reporters required to report sexting to police? The sexting happened to minor children. Look this up in your state websites for mandated reporting.


And what about the storage of porn on your son's phone? After reporting the crime I would ask the police about removing the material from my child's phone/phone records with phone company.
 

klarabelle

Senior Member
I am glad your DS feels safe in coming to his parents about something so disturbing.

I think you need to go to the police, maybe the SRO at school. This is not healthy for the boy that sent the videos and I wonder what is happening to him in his private life. He is distributing pornography to minors which is illegal. The boy clearly needs help and I do think the best way to get that help for him is through the SRO/Police and Child Welfare Services.

Keep us updated on what happens. This is very worrying on so many levels.
 

Renea

Senior Member
This happened my city's high school and people (one a HS student) have gone to prison!
Also, if the people in the videos are underage, it is child porn (more correctly referred to as Child Sexual Abuse), which can have huge consequences for a student sending it and student recipients if they share the video with others.


Your son needs to be legally protected if some in the videos are underage. Even receiving pornography puts minors at risk.

Here is a link to the federal law about distribution of pornography to minors. It's illegal. https://www.justice.gov/criminal-ceos/obscenity

It's so good that your DS confided in you.
 
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timeforbed

Senior Member
Just my opinion

I know you are shocked and so are still in the scrambling stage of what to do. Take a deep breath and step back. This is against the law. Your son needs protection not just psychologically (which he is probably handling because he came to you about it) but also legally. The material needs to be deleted off his cloud. Therefore, go to the cyber crime division of the police and have them tell you how to delete it after they get the information they need. Do this with your son. Tell him you've thought and thought about it and decided that no one else has to know that it was you who put the information in the ears of the police. It is a crime and those girls also need protection. All three kids were victimized. Preventing this from happening again is the right move. Hopefully, the police and court system will deal with this in a humane manner and the child will be placed on probation or even just counseling will be provided. But what the kid did in sending it was wrong.

Not only that, but you are a mandated reporter, right? I know each state is different, but in Georgia if you knew that the kids were victimized, you would be obigated to report it whether it happened at school or not. This is not a "kids will be kids" situation. This is not "playing doctor" when you're five years old. This is the first step towards a serious crime, that of sending porn through the Internet to minors.

I'm sorry you have to deal with this, but those girls may not have understanding parents who have good communication with their parents like you have with your son. I'd be damned if they have to put up with that when they are so young and don't have the strength of maturity and age to help them cope with sexual aggression and harassment.

I'm speaking as someone who was sexually harassed as a child. It's always serious and has long lasting effects well into adulthood. My parents would have done something about it if I had had the courage and wisdom your son has. Walk with strength and conviction with him to the police and tell him that together you are going to take a stand for those girls. It will only make him an even stronger man in the future to know that he was a part of stopping it.
 

NCteacher

Senior Member
I have a former boyfriend who is a lieutenant at a sherriff’s dept in FL. I contacted him today to pick his brain. He had some very good points and said that they deal with this all the time. 1. We do not know what the school already knows about this student. There very well could be more documentation of similar incidents.

2. In most states, sending sexually explicit material to a minor is a felony.

3. He said to first report it to the school, and then the police. The police will probably get a warrant for the kid’s computer, phone, tablet

We talked to DS about it more today. There seems to be 2 girls who received something from this kid. They refuse to discuss it or say anything about it. DS is hyperventilating, because if it reported to the school, there is no doubt that the info came from my son. It is a private school and the kid sending the explicit video comes from a family that is extraordinarily wealthy and make extremely generous with donations to the school…… as in the school has a brand new upper school building.
 

tyrex

Senior Member
Obviously you want to tell the school and police the truth.

But if DS is worried about what classmates will say, tell him to blame it on you- that you checked his phone and found it.
 

MKat

Senior Member
Good idea about letting child know he should blame you for finding and reporting it!

You HAVE to tell. This is on a device that is quite likely ultimately owned by YOU and YOU could be held accountable for having these videos. I went to a very eye opening but informative meeting about teenagers and the law and that is what really stuck with me. Scary that your teen could be searching for "teenage girls in bikinis" or something on a device purchased by you - there's a whole different level of concern if a teacher is googling that!
 

KetchupChips

Senior Member
You have no choice but to report this. Could your police lieutenant friend talk to him? I know my son would listen to the police over mom. I'm sorry your son and family has to deal with this.
 

anna

Senior Member
I get that you want to preserve the trust that is between your son and you. Don't forget that the kid who passed on the porn may have passed it to many other victims,anyone of which could report the crime. The other part of this problem is that the perpetrator needs help. You and your son should also remember the value of the human body and the harm done by objectifying it. It is harmful to the viewer ,the actor and the whole of society. You have a prime opportunity to save face as well as teach your son an invaluable lesson.
 

 

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