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      What penalties can teens face for sexting?

      Our series, "Social Media, Friend or Foe?" continues. Previously, we told you about the issue of cyber bullying, and how teachers at Marquette Senior High School are educating their students about it.

      Another act that has become common among teenagers is sexting, or sending sexually explicit messages or photographs from one mobile device to another. There's a new smartphone app that's making it even easier, and sexting can mean felony charges for teens.

      According to, 39 percent of teens have sexted, but it's easily avoidable.

      "Just use your common sense: you don't need to exploit your body like that," said MSHS junior, Larry Burnette.

      Recently, sexting has become even easier. A new smartphone app, called Snapchat, quickly sends any picture to another phone.

      "That's more of a convenient, if you want to say, way to sext," Burnette said.

      Snapchat deletes the evidence.

      "It just goes away," he said.

      Snapchat allows users to take a picture of anything with their phone. The image can be sent to another user of the app. The sender decides if they will see it for one to ten seconds before it self destructs.

      The makers of Snapchat report that the app processes over 30 million messages a day. It can be a fun, safe way to communicate with friends, according to Burnette.

      "But I think people do take advantage of it," he added.

      Text messaging is often used to sext, too, but the picture isn't automatically removed.

      "It'll stay on your phone unless you delete it off your text messages," said MSHS junior, Larry Burmeister.

      For teens, there are severe penalties for sexting, as students at MSHS are learning.

      "Some people that do sext are mostly teens, I'm guessing, and I would think that a lot of them are under 18, that they're really unaware of the consequences that could happen," Burmeister said.

      "I was surprised that you can get charged even if you're under 18, and I was also surprised at some of the fines that you get, like, if you have a picture, it's a $100,000 fine," Burnette added.

      The maximum sentence for manufacturing child pornography is 20 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. That's the crime a teen is committing when they take a sexual photo of themselves. Possessing child pornography is a four-year felony.

      "If you get a picture, you can get in trouble for it," Burnette said.

      Distributing child pornography is seven years, and using a computer to commit a crime is anywhere from one to 20 years in prison.

      "Crazy consequences, that you can be a sex offender even when you're under 18," Burmeister said.

      Consequences that teachers hope will stick in the minds of their students.