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Sexting and Prosecution

sexting sexuality Feb 03, 2018

Is it possible that children can be prosecuted as sex offenders in the UK and in the US for texting and sexting?

So just what is the issue and how can you best protect your teenager?

BACKGROUND: In a 2009 article from Pew Research Internet Project, sexting was defined as “the creating, sharing and forwarding of sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images by minor teens.“   Sexting has evolved as the era of self-portrait photographs (selfies) has exploded and the term ‘selfie’ was named as one of the top buzzwords in 2012.

ISSUE: young teenage boys and girls are taken sexual photos of themselves (selfies) and then sexting them to others now could face prosecution for distributing indecent images of children and, if convicted have to sign a sex offender registry.

Last year, there was the case of a 17-year-old boy from Manassas County, Virginia who was being charged as a felon for sending sexually explicit videos to a 15-year-old girl.  Stephen Balkam, CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute argues what the two teens did was foolish, stupid and simply wrong, but that it should not be a felony.

LAW: in the United States, sexting is illegal and has been in the legislative books since 2009 and there are summaries available of the law across the states.  In the UK, sexting for children under 18 is also illegal.


Sexting is illegal and once posted, your child will have very little control over how the images are shared.  Sexting also leaves your child vulnerable to bullies, harassment and blackmail.

Talk to your child about sexually suggestive, nude or nearly nude photos.  Your child should not be taking, sharing or forwarding such photos. Period.

You can set up parental controls on your child’s mobile phone, but if your child is tech savvy, these controls can be disabled.

If they have already taken sexually suggestive photos, there are steps to take for damage control.   If the image has not been posted, you can delete the images immediately from the mobile phone.

If the image has already been posted, you can contact the social media sites directly.

No matter what, do not panic. There are resources available to help you and your teenager and if you need some guidance, contact me and I will put you in touch with an Internet Safety association, helpline or hotline near you.

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