Risky Risque

October 1, 2013

‘Sexting’ is the act of sending sexually explicit text-messages or photographs. While generally not illegal between consenting adults, the increasing practice amongst teenagers is both dangerous and disturbing.

Under current Victorian law, a minor convicted of sending or possessing sexually explicit images of themself or a peer can be charged with child pornography offences and placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life. The implications of this criminal record are severe, and could be extremely detrimental to their long-term future.

The Victorian Law Reform Committee is recommending changes to ensure that minors who take or distribute explicit pictures of themselves or their peers cannot be charged with child pornography offences. The Committee suggests that the law needs to be able to distinguish between the misguided actions of a teenager and the actions of an adult. However, unless these recommendations are adopted and legislation is enacted, sexting between minors remains a criminal offence.

Furthermore, legal consequences are not the only danger to young people who sext. Individuals involved in sexting leave themselves open to blackmail, abuse and bullying, and most teenagers have enough struggles with social pressure without the added challenges such activity invites.

If your child is involved in sexting, we suggest that you have a serious discussion to ensure that they understand the legal and practical risks involved.

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