Parents should be acutely aware of their children’s mobile phone use to avoid being arrested for sexting, a police force has said.
Kent Police said parents could be held responsible if phones registered in their names are found to have sent inappropriate sexual images.
The police force issued the warning as they reminded children that taking and sharing explicit images of under 18-year-olds is illegal.
Detective Superintendent Susie Harper said: “If a child’s mobile phone contract is in his or her parent’s name, then the parent can be liable for what the phone is used for, and any indecent material that is saved or sent from it.”
She added that police could seize property, search homes and arrest people over the images – although the force later deleted the comment.
DS Harper said she was not trying to scare, but to “safeguard young people” and make sure parents knew of the dangers.
Young boy questioned
Kent Police also warned of social media sites where sexual images of children are shared with groups of people.
One so-called “bait out” group has already snared more than 40 Kent children in January alone.
In July, it emerged that a five-year-old boy and his parents had been questioned after he sent an intimate picture of himself to another child.
Earlier in 2017, a mother wrote about sexting’s damaging effecting on her teenage daughter.
Roz Carver told The Telegraph that she had assumed her 15-year-old daughter would be “too sensible” to get involved in sending sexually explicit images to friends.
But she was pressured into sending a semi-naked image of herself to a boy she liked, via the WhatsApp messaging service.
Since 2013, more than 4,000 children have been dealt with by the police over the issue.