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(CNN) -- When Vanessa Hudgens' naked photos hit the Internet, the "High School Musical" star quickly apologized. But sending nude or seminude pictures, a phenomenon known as sexting, is a fast-growing trend among teens.

Phillip Alpert is a registered sex offender as a result of sending a nude photograph of his 16-year-old girlfriend.

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy, a private nonprofit group whose mission is to protect children, and CosmoGirl.com, surveyed nearly 1,300 teens about sex and technology. The result: 1 in 5 teens say they’ve sexted even though the majority know it could be a crime.

Phillip Alpert found out the hard way. He had just turned 18 when he sent a naked photo of his 16-year-old girlfriend, a photo she had taken and sent him, to dozens of her friends and family after an argument. The high school sweethearts had been dating for almost 2½ years. “It was a stupid thing I did because I was upset and tired and it was the middle of the night and I was an immature kid,” says Alpert.

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote Apr 8, 2009
    • My goddaughter got busted for this, had to go to juvenile court and was expelled from school. There was a threat of pandering pornography charges, but that never made it to court. She’s now moved in with her dad and is in an entirely new school district.

      The thing is, how long before someone at the old school finds someone at the new school to send the pictures to? This stuff can live forever.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tuliplady wrote Apr 8, 2009
    • Where is the punishment for the girl in the Alpert case?  Teenage girls get away with SO much it’s ridiculous.  She’s just as much to blame as he is!!!!!!

      I agree these kids need some sort of punishment, but putting them on the sex offender list is just going WAAAAAAAYYYY too far.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      UK Girl wrote Apr 8, 2009
    • It’s like the Internet is like the Wild West as regards how far things can go and the implications .....

      I feel for the kids in one way as teenagers we all pushed the boundries but now it seems the tools they have like internet make it so dangerous



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote Apr 8, 2009
    • They really do need to address the laws and make a distinction between close-in-age kids and pervy 50-year-olds looking at naked boys and girls.

      This is just kids being stupid, not a court case.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Jenni0811 wrote Apr 8, 2009
    • I agree that the girl who posed for and sent the photo to her boyfriend also needs to be reprimanded. Neither should be in any court system other than juvenile. It is my understanding that if a boy impregnates an underage girl, the boy’s parents are responsible for child support and if this goes to the court, he will then also be subject to being charged and labeled as a sex offender. I also agree with Cindy, that sexual matters between teens need to be addressed in a separate court system, or have separate laws.

      The broader picture should educate we adults as to the kinds of experimentation our kids are doing with technology and teach them the far reaching implications when they choose to participate in this, as in any other “risky” behavior.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tuliplady wrote Apr 8, 2009
    • You‘re absolutely right Jenni.  It’s the parents responsibility to teach kids about life, and how to act and what is not appropriate behavior.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Angelcart wrote Apr 9, 2009
    • I read this in the news.  Few things, I agree the girl who sent the pic needs to be accountable too.  If she never sent it to him then, well we all know the answer to that one.

      As far as people saying parents need to teach the teens right from wrong I totally agree BUT.....I was taught well yet I still did stupid things as a teenager.  It wasn’t because my parents never taught me right from wrong. I taugt my son the same.  He too has done stupid things.  It’s part of growing up.  

      I went to a 311 concert and needless to say my friend and I were the oldest in the crowd.  I was floored  by the way I saw a lot of teen's behaving.



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