LEBANON, Ind. — An 18-year-old Boone County man is facing four counts of possession of child pornography he allegedly uploaded to Dropbox days after turning 18. Dante McGlothlin has a trial set for March 2023.

These allegations opened up a larger conversation regarding young people sending, receiving and sharing illegal and explicit images.

“I’m really shocked by the prevalence of child sex abuse material,” Boone County Prosecutor Kent Eastwood said.

Eastwood said the number of people downloading and sharing child sex abuse material (CSAM) is staggering. This year, Eastwood said the Indiana State Police will receive 14,000 tips from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s tip line.

“I think last year the state of Indiana received 7,600,” Eastwood said.

Eastwood said teens sometimes do not realize a crime is committed once an explicit video or picture is shared. He said generally speaking two partners sharing a photo won’t be prosecuted.

“Someone under 18, shares that outside of the partnership which we do see sometimes, that’s when it becomes the issue,” Eastwood explained.

But, experts say we should encourage teens not to share images of themselves.

“While it may appear that they’re sharing with someone that they know, things can turn sour, that person may be posing as someone who they are not,” Lauren Coffren, NCMEC’s Exploited Children Division Executive Director, said.

If a parent finds CSAM on their child’s phone, both Eastwood and Coffren said they need to alert authorities.

“If a crime has occurred, there’s evidence on that phone,” Coffren explained. The important part is not to delete it and not to delete the accounts that might have been involved.”

The reason for this is to protect the child victim depicted in the photos or videos.

“One of the things that we’ve found is that children that might have something nefarious like this on their device there are usually other people involved in terms of adults who have corrupted the child,” Eastwood said.

If you don’t feel comfortable alerting police, Coffren said the NCEMC can be an initial first step. NCMEC can also assist in getting a child’s photo removed from a website, just visit www.missingkids.org.

“Our teams have the specialization and expertise in this,” Coffren explained. “We know exactly who to go to, how to be able to get that content taken down and often times we have success, over 99% success of getting images removed within about 29 hours.”

NCMEC has many resources available on its website such as how to report illicit images, and videos to help teach your children to be safe online. Plus, NCMEC can connect children and families to legal and mental health help too.