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Sexting and the Law - Press Send to Turn Teenagers into Registered Sex Offenders
Sending a naked selfie can be a criminal offence — but not many teenagers know this
Then she sent the full-length frontal photo to Isaiah, her new boyfriend. Both were in eighth grade. They broke up soon after. In less than 24 hours, the effect was as if Margarite, 14, had sauntered naked down the hallways of the four middle schools in this racially and economically diverse suburb of the state capital, Olympia. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of students had received her photo and forwarded it. In short order, students would be handcuffed and humiliated, parents mortified and lessons learned at a harsh cost. Only then would the community try to turn the fiasco into an opportunity to educate.
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Raymond Arthur does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons licence. Young people have always explored their sexuality and shared these experiences with others. A lot of these young people will then go on to share these images with someone they know.
EG that a minor can be charged with distribution of child pornography for taking and sending a picture of their intimate areas to another person. The court ruled that the statutory language allowed the charges, and deferred to the way the Legislature has written the law. Unfortunately, this means that, unless the Legislature amends the statute, any minor involved in sexting continues to be at risk of felony charges. However, as the ACLU has explained in a letter to prosecutors in Washington , prosecutors can and should exercise their discretion to avoid treating teen sexting incidents the same as adult exploitation of children.