ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR)-- Social media and smartphones allow us to communicate with people at a rapid rate, but younger users may not understand the risks behind pressing send. A proposed bill could require Illinois middle and high schools to require sexting to be a part of sexual education.
"If you send that, your whole life could just be changed and ruined," Junior at Rockford Lutheran school Joey Soper said.
In 2012, 41 percent of teenagers owned a smartphone, but by 2018 that number jumped to 89 percent. This is why state representative Maurice West believes we need to pass the bill.
“"As technology increases we need to keep up with that," West said. “"Sexting makes it so much easier for sexual predators and human traffickers to target our youth, it's right there at their fingertips."
The bill was proposed in January of this year. West says some schools may already have sexual education curriculum that includes sexting, but he believes it needs to be in all schools.
"I think that this bill being introduced will make us a little more intentional about the things really affect kids right now. We don't put sexting in our health curriculum right now, " Health and physical education teacher at Rockford Lutheran school Jessica Iasparro said.
West says the bill will not require schools to change the curriculum already in place. It would just add a discussion about sexting to help students understand the long term impact sexting can have.
"What we see time and time again, I can't count how many times we have those pictures being used to harass, to blackmail, to threaten," Manager of the Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Prevention Jennifer Caccipaglia said.