Lynchburg, VA - According to a national poll, one out of every 10 teen ages 14 to 18 has posted a nude or semi-nude picture of themselves online.
A group of Liberty University students is now trying to understand why teens makes choices like these. Members of Daniel's Group doing research say the findings might help them keep more young people from becoming victims.
"We found out that a lot of these kids that are talking to adults online, they know that they are talking to these adults but yet they still talk anyway," said Amanda Hornick, a senior at LU.
"The predator will tell them his age or his or her age, and the intentions. And they still will go meet them, not blind at all," said Nora Burkland, a junior at LU.
Their question now is WHY? The students plan to conduct an online survey to find out why children and teens continue to maintain relationships with adults online.
"This is research that could be life-changing and can actually save people's lives. Because people are being hurt, they are being abducted they are being killed," said Dr. Janet Brown, the wife of Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown who is mentoring the project. She's also an associate professor of psychology at LU. She says the group's work is already getting attention from organizations like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
"When they told them the type of research they were doing, they were very excited. And they said to the best of their knowledge no one is doing this type of research."
Her husband certainly agrees.
"We're interested in it because the ICACs across throughout the country have had a problem, and are seeing increased incidents involving social media outlets," said Sheriff Brown.
"Sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming when you realize that this research that you are doing could literally change lives," said Amazing Grace Danso, a student at LU.
These students are part of the Liberty University Daniel's Program. It is a program that gives students an opportunity to solve real world problems through research. We'll be following their research, and give you the latest.