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Châteauguay police launch 'sexts are porn' campaign to rein in teen sexting

Châteauguay police are launching a campaign to educate teenagers about sexting and the law, in response to an increase in reports of sexually explicit texts being exchanged by young people.

Police will visit 6 schools to warn teens aged 12 to 17 about legal dangers of sexually explicit texting

The campaign to inform teenagers about sexting laws will go into February. (Shutterstock)

Châteauguay police are launching a campaign to educate teenagers about sexting and the law, in response to an increase in reports of sexually explicit texts being exchanged by young people.

"The sexting phenomenon is trivialized by young people and growing," Châteauguay police spokesperson Jenny Lavigne said.

Lavigne said sexual messages don't have to include an explicit photo to be considered child pornography.

"Sometimes the teenager didn't know they could be arrested" for sending an explicit text, she said.

There have been about 30 child pornography cases in Châteauguay since 2016, police, although it's not clear if all were related to sexting incidents.

Police to visit 6 schools

The police campaign, called "Sexts are porn," targets students aged 12 to 17. Police will visit six schools over the next two weeks to increase awareness about the trouble young people can get themselves into.

Parents will receive a letter about the campaign and posters will be set up in the schools.

Each school will also be visited by Châteauguay police officers and members of CALACS, a group fighting against sexual assault.

The police force estimates its campaign will reach 5,000 students.

With files from Lauren McCallum