10 sexting legal dangers
Sexting – the sending of sexual images via mobile phone or the internet – is a growing fad among young teenagers according to recent studies, yet teens seem unaware of the legal dangers they face as well as the possible personal consequences.
Under Part 10.6 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 it is an offence to “access, transmit, publish, possess, control, supply, or obtain child pornography.”
Even though the age of consent in NSW is 16, this law covers anyone who is, or even appears to be, under 18. The laws are designed to protect children from adult offenders, and don’t take into account teenagers might see it as harmless fun.
These examples show the legal dangers in sexting:
* It can be a crime to make, send, or possess an image of someone under the age of 18 – including yourself – showing private parts or posing in a sexual way.
* It’s a crime to photo a person under 18 in the presence of another person involved in a sexual activity.
* A 16 year old boy who takes a picture of his private parts and sends it to a friend on his mobile phone is committing a crime. So is the friend who has it on the phone.
* A 15 year old girl who sends a video of herself in bra and underwear doing a sexy dance and sends it out is committing a crime.
* A 14 year old boy who posts a video of himself watching a girl strip at a party is committing a crime, regardless of how old the girl is.
* A 17 year old couple who send each other images of them having sex are committing a crime even though they are legally old enough to have sex.
*It’s a crime to take a sexual or nude image of anyone without permission.
*Harassing someone to send you a naked picture of them is a crime.
*A 15 year old girl sends her 15 year old boyfriend a picture of herself in bra and panties to his mobile – both have committed a crime.
* Two 17 year olds who swap naked photos could be charged under child pornography laws. People under 18 cannot agree to sexting.
Stacks Law Firm criminal lawyer Ruth Whisker says young people need to be aware of the possible consequences of sexting and posting such images on the internet,
“What may be fun today can have life-long consequences. They might be as simple as embarrassment should a future employer or partner find out about the photos.