Sexting – The Legal Consequences

Teens and sexting is increasing in popularity in the US. With so many teenagers having their own private cell phones, sexting has quickly grown into a new threat for kids. Unless you fully understand the harm and consequences of it, your child could be at serious risk.

Teens need to know about the consequences of sexting. The best way for parents to educate their teens is to become educated about the dangers of sexting themselves. Your teens need to understand the legal, criminal, emotional and psychological ramifications of teen sexting. Teens simply don’t think about their futures the way parents do. As a parent, protect yours by educating them on teens and sexting today.

What is sexting?

Sexting involves using email or a cell phone to send sexually explicit images or messages to others. The word “sexting” is a combination of the words “sex” and “texting.” It began as a trend that involved teenagers texting nude images of themselves.

Adults have also joined the bandwagon, engaging in sexting as well. Yet, the consequences of engaging in sexting could be much more severe and serious when teens are involved.

The Law Behind Teen Sexting

Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography is a serious crime. Anyone involved can and will be charged with a felony. What does this have to do with sexting? Well, the actual law states that it’s against the law to transmit or possess sexually suggestive or nude images of any child under 18 years old. Here are some details related to this law:
It’s illegal to intentionally or knowingly possess any images depicting a minor engaging in any type of sexual act.

It’s a crime to promote or distribute any type of sexual images of minors. This includes transmitting, circulating, distributing, emailing, sharing and texting.

When a teenager sends a sexually suggestive or nude picture electronically to someone else, the minor is committing a crime. Even if the images are of himself/herself, they are in violation of the law.

The Consequences of Teen Sexting

Some adults don’t take teen sexting very seriously. They believe it’s simply an act of two teens sharing amongst themselves. But, some serious, irreversible damage can be done. Teen sexual behavior can be so easily influenced. Sexting effectively aggravates the emotional and mental consequences of the behavior.

Traditionally, teen relationships are all about the lows and highs of dating, while gaining experience and maturity. Yet, technology has become such a great influence that new consequences are continuously developing. When sexting occurs, it often involves photos of others being shared with multiple people. This results in embarrassment, shame and bullying.

The bottom line is that sexting images of anyone under the age of 18 is illegal. Yet, for the victim, the consequences go far beyond legal ramifications. Once a sext is sent, it becomes a permanent part of the viral world. Even if you delete the image out of your phone, it will never, ever go away.

That’s because once it has been sent, you have no control over who forwards, shares, posts, emails or sexts it to someone else. And, as you know, once it hits the internet, it’s “out there” forever. So, later on in life, your teen’s college recruiters and potential employers can see it too.

This guest post was contributed by The Liahona Academy for troubled teen boys.

Picture-Alert is a child protection app for parents.


Photo courtesy of


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