Dinwiddie County, Va. (CBS DC) — A Virginia couple turned their 13-year-old daughter in to sheriff’s deputies after discovering naked pictures the girl was sending and receiving of her and other teenagers on her cell phone and tablet.
A Dinwiddie County mother of two, whose identity was protected by WTVR-TV, discovered naked pictures and “inappropriate” conversations their daughter was sharing with other teenagers. The parents said the photos and conversations the girl were having were so bad that they turned her and her electronics over to the local sheriff’s office for investigation.
“Looking through the phone and the tablet we did find sexual pictures, conversations that were very inappropriate for her age,” the Dinwidde mother told WTVR. “We did this now to protect her for now and in the future, because this could get worse. She could be taken.”
The parents were made aware of their 13-year-old daughter’s digital behavior when their other child heard voices in the girl’s bedroom around 4 a.m. The parents confiscated her electronic devices and found the naked photos of herself, others and reportedly lewd conversations with older, “17-18ish” area high school students.
The Dinwiddie teenager had been sending naked pictures of herself back-and-forth to local boys, although none of the photos showed their daughter with anyone else.
“Everybody wanted to be her friend, because according to these people, she was cool now,” said the Dinwiddie mother. “What scares me is, this is much bigger than we realize. How many others are doing this and you don’t realize it?”
Commonwealth’s Attorney Lisa Caruso told WTVR that the teenage daughter may not necessarily have to go through the court system for her actions, but the older teens found in the digital interactions could face felony charges depending on their exact age.
“What’s called diversion in the juvenile justice system. That’s a 12-week program and it would be group classes. The parents would get involved [and] there would be some counseling,” said Caruso.
The mother said she understands many may criticize her decision to take her own daughter to the sheriff’s investigators, but that they did it out of fear.
“What she’s facing may be harsh, but we feel it’s for her own protection,” the mother said.
The mother said parents should keep their children from using potentially dangerous apps.
“Please put parental controls on everything. I was informed that if you take it to the store… wherever store you buy it from, they can put all kinds of locks and controls in place, so that they can’t access these apps.”