BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - There are some shocking statistics about the number of young people in our state sexting or sending nude pictures to one another through an electronic device.
Not only is it happening more and more, but the consequences can result in years of punishment.
From 2013 to 2015, the number of tips coming into the State Bureau of Investigation has jumped from 600 to 1,200.
That's according to statistics from the State Bureau of Investigation.
The youngest victim who took nude pictures of themselves and sent it to someone was 6 years old.
Officials say it's not uncommon for 7 and 8 year olds to sext, too.
In Alabama, it is a felony for a child under the age of 17 to take a nude photo of themselves and send it to someone else.
It is also a felony to receive that photo and encouraging a child to take such a photo is also a crime.
If a child is convicted of those crimes, they will have to register as a sex offender with the state for ten years.
Officials say it is imperative that parents know the consequences and talk to their kids about it. "Parents have got to wake up. They have got to become vigilant in making sure they have strong presence in their child's online life," says Lt. Brooke Walker, who is with the state's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
"They have to have very good discussions with their children just like we do about drunk driving or not doing drugs. They have to have the conversation with their children to stay safe on the internet and make good, safe choices while they are online," Walker said.
Walker goes on to say that children are being victimized every day. She says the state has lost its grasp on trying to get ahead of the crime and now they are simply trying to keep up with it.