There are several studies that indicate that sexting is a widespread practice among teenagers, who don’t completely appreciate the dangers as well as the legal consequences of such practices. Sexting is defined as the sharing of nude, or explicit pictures or even videos of oneself or others using a smartphone. It’s fairly harmless when responsible adults do it. However, when teenagers below the age of legal consent share nude pictures of themselves, there is a serious risk of legal consequences.
In Colorado, there have been cases involving teenagers who exchanged such videos and pictures with legal repercussions. In one widely publicized case in Jefferson County in 2012, two teenagers were arrested after they were alleged to have shared video footage on their cell phone. The footage showed friends engaged in sexual activity inside the car in which they were all traveling. The footage was then passed on from cell phone to cell phone in the local community. At least one of the teenagers in this case was below the age of 18.
In the Colorado case, one of the boys was actually charged with making the video and sharing with others, while the other was charged with possessing the video and sharing it with others. Both of these are third-degree felony charges. Make no mistake – your child could face criminal charges if he uses his cell phone irresponsibly.
What teenagers may not realize when they take such pictures and send them to others, or when they shared nude pictures and explicit videos of themselves without thinking of the consequences, is that they may be exposing themselves to charges of child pornography. If the person who is depicted in the video or the picture being shared on the smartphone is below 18 years of age, then that could legally constitute child pornography.
Experts suggest that parents drive home the fact that images last forever, and even if these are deleted from your smartphone, they can be transmitted from smartphone to smartphone in a matter of seconds. Pictures can be posted on social media portals, on online porn sites, on Instagram, and can be easily traced to your child’s smart phone. Also stress similar consequences if your child actually takes seminude selfies, and sends them to others.