A generation ago New York parents did not have to deal with cellphones, the Internet and all of the other technology-related headaches that can get their kids into loads of trouble. Now, however, a child may run afoul of the law by engaging in electronic behaviors that are common to and even encouraged by their peers. One of those behaviors is sexting, and this post will attempt to provide a definition for the term as well as a discussion of why it can get kids into trouble.
Sexting generally refers to sending sexualized content to another person through a text message. Often sexting involves sending sexual images or images of a suggestive nature. There are a number of issues related to this behavior that parents may want to address with their kids, but the legal problems that can impact their lives may arise from the use of sexually charged images of minors in their text messages.
The sending of sexual images of an underage person may constitute the cybercrime of child pornography. Young people who share via text message sexual images of each other may all be held criminally liable for possessing and distributing child pornography. These charges are incredibly serious, can result in imprisonment and can require registration as a sex offender long into the future.
It is important that parents monitor their kids’ online behaviors to ensure that they are safe and to ensure that they are not breaking any New York or federal laws by sexting. Parents who fear that their kids may be confronted with sexting-based legal claims are strongly encouraged to reach out to criminal defense attorneys who take on juvenile defense clients.