LAFAYETTE, LA (KLFY) — This past Friday, we received a tip from a concerned mother after she learned that someone on the social media site, Instagram, was posting sexually explicit images of local teens. The page where the graphic photos were shared, has since been deleted, but the images remained on the site for more than an hour before being taken down.
Detective, Casey Barfield says, “We were made aware of a recent incident in reference to an Instagram site that involved exposing various people doing explicit sexual.” acts.
Instagram, similar to Facebook, allows you to tag or direct someone to a photo by typing their username in the comment section. According to her biography, we learned one of the teens whose explicit photo was posted, is supposed to graduate from a Lafayette Parish high school next year; which raises the question of child porn.
“Child pornography is any sexually explicit image with someone under the age of 18” said Detective Barfield.
The user posted 58 photos, exposing the victims to almost 1500 followers, and that doesn’t include viewers who just visited the page. “The adolescent brain is not fully developed in the area of judgment and consequences for actions” said Hollie French, a counselor at Hollie French Counseling and Art Therapy.
She says when teens are exposed in incidents like this, feelings of isolation, depression and self hate can set in.”That places is teens at a higher risk for self harming and suicidal behaviors” said French.
Detective Barfield says the sheriff’s department along with other law enforcement agencies have teamed up with Hearts of Hope, a local children’s advocacy center to educate parents and children on topics such as sexting and child porn.
Parents who want to help fight the evolving issue of child porn can go to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at missingkids. There you’ll find resources and the proper procedure to follow when reporting an act of child exploitation.