TRUSSVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) — Experts say parents never know who might be in chatrooms or on social media with their teens and there is a real danger they could face if left unmonitored.

Attorney Patrick Caver spoke to some Trussville City Schools parents and teachers Thursday night. He said a lot of parents and kids don’t realize just how much harassment and extortion goes on social media.

“We’ve actually had teenagers commit suicide over these types of situations,” Caver said.

Caver has worked in juvenile court for around 20 years and done presentations on “Social Media and the Law” for the last eight. He said one of the most common ploys kids from elementary to high school fall for is sending “bad” pictures to someone online, thinking it’s something fun to do by going to someone their own age, and the person on the other end is a catfish using that photo as blackmail for money or more photos.

“Teenagers can be getting in just as much trouble as an adult when you’re talking about taking pictures,” Caver said. “In Alabama, anybody under 17 takes a photograph they’re not supposed to, it’s actually called production of child porn and some of the same laws apply like registration as a sex offender. If I could just save one child from doing what I’ve had to do before as a juvenile court attorney is where I sit two parents down and say, ‘I’m sorry, but your child sent a picture, and now your child is a registered sex offender.’ They don’t think about things like that. Talk about a parent’s nightmare.”

For some parents, the risks with letting their kids have social media aren’t worth it. One mom said her high school son just got a phone a few months ago but doesn’t have social media.

“Are you glad that you have that decision to not have social media?” CBS 42 asked.

“Oh, absolutely. Absolutely,” Kristie Northern said.

“And I back that up,” Northern’s son said.

“I learned a lot about the apps the kids are using,” Kristie Northern said. “I’d never heard of a lot of them or some of the emojis and the way that they used them.”

Caver said technology has exploded in the last decade and social media along with it. He said even parents who think their children aren’t using social media should check with the about the video games they play.

“You think as a parent, your child is not on the internet because they’re playing video games. But actually, they are,” Caver said. “Anything that connects to the internet has potential to have problems.”

Caver said the best way to protect your kids is to “be a parent” and monitor their social media accounts, texts and photos nearly every day.