Hundreds of thousands of text messages, on one cell phone alone, reportedly dealt with covering up the Steubenville rape case details. The number alone is almost as shocking as the subject matter. It points out the need for young people to learn more about the transparency of the technology they seem to take for granted.
Two hundred-forty thousand texts were sent on one subject, all dealing with alleged rape, its aftermath and its cover up.
Authorities said sharing deep secrets by texting is not secure. No one knows better than Chief Jeremy Campbell head of the SPII Task Force. His job is to read texts, posts and emails from sexual predators trolling for kids. That's how they get caught.
"Your text messages are completely retrievable and over time we can bring those messages back," said Campbell. "Some applications that claim to delete your text messages that you send to other parties or pictures, it's still possible for the receiving party to capture that text message or that picture you sent them and store it on their phone."
Texting is actual the main form of communication among many teens, but just because the delete button is pressed, doesn't mean it's gone.
"What kids and everyone
alike should be aware of is that your text messages are completely retrievable,"
said Campbell. "Even over time, we
can bring those text messages back."
Campbell said even apps that put pictures on a timer, that put up a screen caption alert and will delete text messages in a set time are not foolproof.
They make the user feel
secure, but the receiving party can take screen captures of it and preserve it
on their phone.
"Kids don't realize what
they text and what they put on Facebook, what they put out in the public media
is there and it's always gonna be there," said Mark Dubil of St. Clairsville. "And
they have to understand that."
"Sure, cell phone
companies can trace all your texts, can read anything you send," said Sam
Banker of Shadyside, Ohio.
"I think that text messaging was always a thing to be able to get a hold of people if you ever needed them but to be able to keep something a secret is never any good," said Brittney Hoke. "You know especially with something like that, It's something that's very dramatic to somebody and to be able to express it to everybody, it shouldn't be in that way."
A smart phone is fine in
the hands of kids, but parents have to "have the talk" first and set
"You know, call 'em up
on the telephone," Dubil said. Talk to 'em face to face. Watch what you put on
"They should be telling their child that this phone's for emergencies, keeping in contact with us, yes you can talk with your friends," said Campbell. "But you should try to maintain an open relationship with your child and be aware of what they're doing, who they're talking to and what they're sending."