Potential long-term consequences of sexting
Many young people and in particular teenagers, do not understand the potential dangers and long term consequences of ‘sexting’.
What may appear to be a flirtatious exchange between a young couple can be viewed as a serious offence in the eyes of the law. Recently a 16-year-old boy in South Australia was spared a conviction for producing child pornography for taking a photo of his own genitals and sending the picture to his girlfriend, who posted it on social media after they broke up.
Not only can a child who shares a pornographic picture of themselves be technically found guilty of producing and disseminating child exploitation material, but the person receiving it can technically be found guilty of possessing child exploitation material.
The need for reform
President of the Law Society of South Australia Toni Rossi stated that “the law should be reviewed with a view to reducing the risk of teenagers inappropriately facing child pornography charges for naive but non-exploitative behaviour, while maintaining a zero tolerance approach to sexual predators.”
The need for education
The Law Society has developed an educational app called ‘Out of Bounds’ to help educate young people about the issue and raise awareness of the legal boundaries of sexual activity and online communication. With the growing prevalence of technology and use of smart phones, it is important to ensure that young people are aware that sexting is illegal, helping them to avoid the potential legal ramifications of this kind of behaviour.