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Macomb teens' sexting could lead to child porn charges

MACOMB TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The investigation focuses on four 17-year-old boys who are students at L'Anse Creuse High School North.

They are allegedly involved in putting on Twitter a picture of a 15-year-old girl involved in a sex act. The boys could face charges of distributing child pornography.

"Not only are you facing felony and potential prison time for this distribution, but it is pretty much changing the trajectory of your life," said legal expert Todd Flood.

The photo reportedly was taken without her knowledge. Dan O'Neil, a psychologist at the Birmingham Maple Clinic, says 85 percent of older teens have a smartphone capable of sexting.

"We know that a lot of the sexting takes place after midnight. We know that a lot of the sexting takes place among kids in the same school," said O'Neil.

He says teens have been warned about the consequences of sharing explicit material, but many don't listen.

"Let's remember that we're dealing with an adolescent brain. An adolescent brain is like all the components of a hi-fi system that aren't connected," he said.

O'Neil says some parents will limit data plans or confiscate phones after midnight, but those measures are usually ineffective.

"I just think that trying to catch them, trying to squash them, trying to scare them is probably not the best way. Education, understanding, helping them learn the proper ways to interact with each other," said O'Neil.

A school spokesperson said the incident happened after school hours and off school property. School officials notified the Macomb County Sheriff's Department when they were made aware of the picture.

The Sheriff's Department is investigating.