Featured News 2018 My Teen Sexted with His Girlfriend—Can He Be Charged?

My Teen Sexted with His Girlfriend—Can He Be Charged?

The issue with the digital world is that interactions that were once fleeting (or impossible) are not recorded forever—and some things, when preserved, are deeply damaging. Today's blog is about how sexting affects a child's future, whether or not they can be charged, and what will happen as a result.

Sexting is becoming a common expression for teens who are attracted to one another. Conservative estimates say that 1 in 8 teens aged 12-17 have sent an explicit image of themselves to another person at least once in their life. Another study found that 30 percent of 18-year-olds had sent nude pictures during high school (and 45 percent had received them).

The nature of texting means that those images are effectively permanent. When it comes to making decisions that affect the rest of your life, few things are as casual or as destructive as sexting. Now, the law is figuring out what to do with it.

14-Year Old Girl Charged with Child Pornography

In January 2018, Minnesota authorities responded to a sexting case by charging a teenage girl with the creation of child pornography. "Jane Doe" used Snapchat to send a picture of herself to a boy she liked, and the boy distributed it without her permission. Believe it or not, this sequence of events didn't make Jane Doe a victim—it made her an accused felon.

Now, regardless of whether or not this is ethically or legally sound, the lesson is clear: your teen is not safe from prosecution should they send or receive sexts from a peer.

If Jane Doe is convicted (or even pleads guilty to a lesser charge), she'll need to spend a decade on the sex offender registry—arguably the most formative decade of her life. From 15 years old to 25 years old, Jane would be prohibited from going to certain colleges, obtaining good housing, or starting a career doing whatever she wants. This isn't just a punishment for a few years—this could affect the rest of her life.

If you've discovered that your child has sent or solicited sexts from their girlfriend or boyfriend, you need to call a lawyer immediately. Do not speak to the police, and do not attempt to fix this yourself. The stakes are too high not to contact a professional.

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