Anne Arundel County police want parents to talk to their kids about sexting.

The police department said in a Thursday release that it has received complaints involving "partially nude, nude, or sexually explicit photographs of juveniles" being posted on social networking sites like Instagram that reference Anne Arundel County high schools.

Juveniles who send and receive nude photos of themselves or their peers can face serious legal ramifications including child pornography charges. Police said none of the reported pictures have risen to that level under Maryland law but urged parents to warn their children about the risks.

"Explain that it is never acceptable," the release said. "As soon as you hand your child a digital device, be it a phone or a tablet or a computer, you should begin the discussion that sending or receiving inappropriate pictures is never okay, nor is sending explicit sexual messages."

Producing, transmitting, sharing, or possessing sexually explicit images of a minor — even if the picture is of themselves — is against of the law and could result in charges and being required to register as a sexual offender, police said.

The department put together a list of tips for parents which includes monitoring their children's activities and having frank discussions with them about the issue. Take the time to learn what sites they're using, the department added — having them teach you how to navigate Instagram, Snapchat and other apps can be a good way to connect.

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

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