What is ‘sexting’? Most all of us have heard the term, especially in the last year, or so. Thanks to social media sites, emails, and text messaging, ‘sexting’ is one of the hottest topics in the school system ranging from 6th to 12 grade.

‘Sexting’ is when someone sends a request for pictures of the other person, either full or partially nude. In our current world of smart phones, this has become as easy as snapping a picture and texting it out – 2 minutes tops.

The biggest part of the problem is that most of the individuals sending and receiving the pictures or ‘pics’, are not yet 18 years old. The law is very specific when it comes to these violations. It is illegal to request someone less than 18 years to take and/or send out a nude photo. This is solicitation of child pornography which is punishable by several years in prison and a requirement that the offender register as a sex offender.

It is also illegal for someone less than 18 years of age to take a nude picture of their nude body – female breast(s), vagina, buttocks, or penis – and send it out using any type of electronic communications or otherwise display the picture. This is the creation and/or dissemination of child pornography, with similar consequences.

Please take the time to talk to your children about the consequences of ‘sexting’, not just legal, but also social consequences. Remember, if one picture is sent to one person, then that person shares with three friends, those three shares with five of their friends…before the end of the hour a majority of the school has seen that picture.

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