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Symbian Authors: Jack Newton, Kevin Benedict, Matthew Lobas, Shelly Palmer, RealWire News Distribution

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New Web-Based Sexting Diversion and Cell Phone Safety Program for Teens Available Through COURTEducation Online

COURTEducation Online has launched a new web-based, sexting diversion and cell phone safety program for teens 12 to 18 years old. The online course is designed to help families, juvenile courts, law enforcement and state agencies throughout the country educate teens about the social dangers and legal consequences of sending and receiving inappropriate or sexually charged text messages and images.

Sexting has become a widespread practice among teens. However, the current lack of educational options to deal with the behavior is putting juvenile courts and agencies in a dilemma over how to handle adolescent sexting cases.

“Kids need to understand the serious consequences of sexting,” said Adam Schwebach, Ph.D., president of COURTEducation Online and adolescent behavioral psychologist. “Teens don’t know sexting can cause legal troubles and damage their future. Our program helps them understand the seriousness of sexting and helps them prevent poor choices in the future.”

COURTEducation Online was developed with collaboration between behavioral psychologists and juvenile probation officers in Utah. It offers evidence-based learning for teens through online video instruction and testing. The 60-minute course teaches adolescents about the dangers of sexting and promiscuous online behavior, appropriate and effective communication between teens and the importance of developing healthy interpersonal relationships.

Parents are also engaged through a shortened 20-minute educational program where they learn about sexting, its legal and social dangers and tips for promoting appropriate and safe cell-phone practices with their children.

Recent research estimates that over 20 percent of teens have sent a sexually explicit image of themselves to another person and about 60 percent have received a sext from someone else. About 50 percent of teens have sent sexually explicit text messages.

COURTEducation Online launched its online diversion program following several research studies, including one published last June in Archives of Sexual Behavior. It examined sexting behaviors among teens and their tendencies to practice the behavior despite legal, social and psychological risks.

Teens that sext are also likely to experience serious social consequences, usually because the messages are forwarded to unintended individuals. The person who originally sent the sext may be ridiculed, humiliated, bullied or cyber bullied by their peers. Sexting can also lead to an increased risk of teen suicide.

Visit www.courteducationonline.com for more information. Media, juvenile court and law enforcement personnel may also preview the diversion program by calling 661-727-3687 or sending an email to [email protected].

About COURTEducation Online

COURTEducation Online (www.courteducationonline.com) works with court systems and state agencies to provide affordable and easy to use online learning programs. Courses may be taken to help fulfill court, probation or other legal requirements or just for personal growth and development. COURTEducation Online is certified by the Neuropsychology Center of Utah (NPCU).

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