The digital age activity known as “sexting”—the transmission of nude, semi-nude or sexually explicit material across digital channels—is a serious matter. The term is often used to describe incidents where teenagers take nude or partially nude (e.g., topless) pictures of themselves and share those images with others, usually romantic partners, using mobile devices.
How many kids actually engage in "sexting" is open to debate. The Cyberbullying Research Center estimates the number to be around 28%. So with more than one in four teens engaging in this activity, it is imperative for adults to educate themselves about sexting.
It is important to let young people know about the possible legal consequences of sexting, which can be very serious. Some teenagers who have sent sexual photos of themselves or others have been charged with distribution of child pornography, and some individuals who have received such photos have been charged with possession of child pornography. Violators may even end up on their state’s sex-offender registry. In some states sexting is even considered a felony and can be punishable by 7 to 10 years in prison.
What if the worse should happen...your child's nude selfie goes viral? Don't despair. Follow this excellent advice offered by Your Teen for Parents.
Teach Students About Sexting!
We believe in teaching young people about the serious consequences of sexting—from the legal ramifications described above to the damage it can do to one's "digital reputation." That's why lessons on the topic are included in Level 3 of the Cyber Civics curriculum. If you would like to learn more or sample this lesson, contact us.