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5 things parents should do if they find nude images on their child’s device

5 things parents should do if they find nude images on their child’s device

Recently a parent posted on Facebook that he found nude images of teen boys on his daughter telephone. He asked what he should do and the responses from the Facebook community varied. Some stating he should track down the culprits and beat them up. Another comment stated he should send the images to their parents. While these comments are largely an emotional response, it is important to understand the severity of this scenario. If a child sends a nude picture of themselves electronically to your child, it can be considered child pornography. If you find this and see it, you are also handling child pornography and the saving, sharing or distribution of this image may make you a distributor of this content. This could lead to you being charged with a felony and a registered sex-offender. It is very serious.

Should parents communicate with the parents of the other party?

Yes. If this is a possibility parents should work together to resolve the issue. Most parents know their children’s friends and can easily reach out to their parents. Discussing this issue between parents can be a very helpful step in showing children how adults work together to resolve a problem. These discussions can also help parents work together to resolve the problem. If at all possible, parents should communicate with the parents of the other child to discuss the inappropriateness of sharing these images online and set up rules and expectations to keep it from happening again. It’s important for all parties to remain calm.

Despite this, parents should also be prepared to accept that other parents may deny what is reported or blame it on someone else.

It is still advisable for parents to talk to the parents or guardians involved to address the issue if this is a possibility.

If I cannot communicate with the parents of the other party what should I do?

Here are Smarter Parenting we want to provide a parent 5 very specific steps they should follow if they find nude images of others sent to their child’s device.

If a parent finds nude images on their child’s electronic device that was sent by someone as a text or on social media, here are the 5 things a parent should do:

  1. Report image to law enforcement and authorities.
  2. Take possession of the device.
  3. Do not communicate or engage with anyone on the device.
  4. Work with authorities on how to proceed.
  5. Give an appropriate consequence for the behavior.


Reporting to authorities

If I parent finds nude images on their child’s device from an underage youth it can be considered child pornography. Anyone taking, sending or possessing nude pictures of children can face felony sex crime charges. The most important thing to do is to report it. Contact law enforcement and let them know of the problem and they can help guide the parent on what they should do about the issue. Be honest and open and allow them to investigate if others are involved.

Why is reporting it important?

One of the main reasons parents should report these incidences to law enforcement is because this type of offense may be more expansive than just one image to one child. There may be other victims involved as well as perpetrators behind the images and messages. It is not uncommon for child predators to use social media to gain access to children.

Deleting the images will not solve the problem. While you may delete it from your child’s device, the device the other person was using can still register what devices it sent items to and these may lead to your child.

Law enforcement will be able to provide help on what can be done and may even provide help to prevent it from happening again.

As soon as these images are found parents should also take possession of the device until law enforcement can review it.

Do not communicate with others on the device

Parents should not communicate with those sending images on the device. Do not respond to them. Allow the authorities to decide how to proceed. If there needs to be a more investigative measure taken this will allow them to do so.


The consequence for a child who has nude images on their device should include suspension from the device for some time. Parents should work out a time frame based on their situation. It should also include limited access to social media and internet sites as well. Additional suggestions for consequences can include installing third-party apps that monitor what is being accessed on the device as well as the removal of all apps. As the parent, decide on a consequence that will teach your child new behaviors and punishing them. Remember, punishment does not always teach.

Use the skill of Effective Communication and Preventive Teaching to work through these issues. It is important to keep the lines of communication open.

Make sure to check out these other parenting tools also!