CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — A state lawmaker from Rockford is proposing children in Illinois schools be taught about the dangers and consequences of “sexting.”

State Representative Maurice West said children are now exposed to cellphone technology at younger and younger ages and may feel comfortable sharing explicit photos, not realizing how their lives could take a turn for the worse in doing so.

"Five, 10, 15 years from now, this can hurt you. This can come back and haunt you when you try to go into a career, when you try to go in to get a job. Let’s say you even try to get into politics," he said.

Representative West said his proposal would not cost schools any more money, because the sexting lessons in 6th through 12th grades could be folded into already-required sex education classes.

He said a constituent gave him the idea for the proposed law.

"Even though that this is a topic that may make adults uncomfortable, we have to address the elephant in room. We have to have these conversations with our youth," Rep. West said.

He said it’s really needed, because of how comfortable students are getting with cellphone technology at younger ages.

"I remember having my first phone as senior in high school, but now my goddaughter is eight and she got an iPhone for her birthday," he said.

West said children need to understand that sending someone an explicit photo of themselves or others could get them into criminal trouble, or in the very least, follow them through life as they try to get into schools or look to advance in their careers.

"Once it’s out, there’s nothing you can do about it. You have zero control," Rep. West said.

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January 9, 2020 at 08:21PM