A 17-year-old high school student from Edgewater was charged last month with distributing and possessing child pornography after allegedly posting sexually explicit pictures of underage girls to the social networking site Instagram, Anne Arundel County police said Saturday.

Police say the incident should be a lesson to parents and children about the dangers of teens "sexting" or sending explicit photos of themselves to others or posting them on social networking sites.

In March, police received numerous complaints of sexually explicit pictures being posted to social networking sites like Instagram. A different Anne Arundel County high school was referenced in various postings, police said. Detectives identified many of the girls in the pictures and learned the images had been taken by the girls themselves or consensually by another person.

Police linked the 17-year-old boy to the postings and charged him as a juvenile. He was not identified. Police said subsequent investigation showed no one else was involved.

Police encouraged anyone who sees similar activity to notify the Anne Arundel County Police Department, Instagram's Help Center at help.instagram.com or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's Cyber Tip Line at cybertipline.com.

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