Hoover asks parents to talk to kids about 'sexting'

HOOVER, AL (WBRC) - Sexting, or sending nude pictures of yourself by text message, has been a problem in schools now for a couple of years.

Hoover City Schools distributed a letter warning parents of 4th and 5th grade sexting. The letter suggests to parents that now's time to start talking to their children about this issue.

A national survey says 1 out of every 5 teens has sent a nude or seminude picture of themselves by text or email, but what about for 4th and 5th graders?

"We're seeing this at very young levels, and it's disturbing, and it's a trend among all school systems," said Hoover Schools spokesperson Jason Gaston.

"I think there's a group of parents that are educated on what's going on at the moment and they realize it's possible," said Mountain Brook High student Robert Phillips. "But there's also a group of parents that probably don't even know this is possible."

"A lot of parents aren't familiar with the terminology, they're certainly not familiar with how prevalent this is," Gaston said. "So we thought this was a good way to start that conversation with the students."

"I would like to think I have raised my children in a manner that I would not be concerned... or red flags would be raised if I had a reason to be concerned about that happening in our family," said a parent, Clyde Prather.

Prather says he's confident his children are safe, but he's trying to be proactive.

"If it were to be something found in my house, then obviously the phone would be taken away, which would take away multiple other privileges if you couldn't have a cell phone," Prather said.

"I really encourage parents to be on top of technology," Emily Huensch added. She's a student ministry director at Covenant Presbyterian Church. "Whether it's checking your kids Facebook walls, MySpace pages, and I personally have no problem with checking your kids cell phones, because you never know. Sometimes it is good kids that get wrapped up in this."