Special Series, Part II: “Sexting: Trending or Troubling?”
Sending and receiving sexual messages or racy photographs can seem like not too big of a deal but if those messages get into the wrong hands, or someone feels harassed or threatened by them, what may have started out as a joke becomes a legal offense punishable by jail time.
As common as sexting is, it’s surprising that most individuals have no knowledge of the legal aspects surrounding sending and/or receiving inappropriate and sexually explicit messages and photos.
With the constant progression of technology, aiding in the ease and availability of sending sexually-centered content, it seems as though the law is playing catch up.
Depending on the age of those involved and the number of times those individuals take part in the act, the legal repercussions vary.
If one person is of age, while the other is a minor, that’s when the FBI gets involved.
However, if both parties are of age, it’s considered a private matter unless, one person is using the messages or images to embarrass, harass, bully or extort another. In that case, the individual found responsible will face felony charges and it doesn’t stop there.
Although the laws regarding the act of sending and receiving inappropriate messages are being continuously updated, many cases that make it to the courtroom don’t exclusively deal with the specifics of sexting.
Those more serious allegations leave lasting effects on individuals and can even result in physical harm such as suicide.
All of these difficulties the guilt, the shame, remorse, can be avoided if you just think twice before hitting that send button.
Those involved include not only the individuals sending and receiving sexts, anyone who forwards or distributes the sexually explicit content can be held legally liable for what follows.