The Real Risks of Sexting
By Chelsea Fisher
Sexting. Most people, whether or not they think it’s bad, view it as a normal occurrence. From receiving unwanted explicit pictures to sending them yourselves, many students have never been taught how dangerous this practice actually is. There are legal, emotional, and psychological consequences most people can’t even fathom. This article is purely to inform, and more importantly, warn students to keep them from making this mistake that can have lifelong repercussions.
- If students are under the age of 18, sexting can be prosecuted as production, distribution, reception, request, possession, and even sale of child pornography. According to the Department of Justice (DOJ) website, a first-time offender also under the age of 18 who is convicted of producing child pornography can face fines and a statutory minimum of 15 years in prison.
- Even without a conviction or jail time, sending child pornography could land you on the sex offender registry. Not only is there a terrible stigma from being on this, but it also gets in the way of employment and residency as being a sex offender can keep you from working or living in certain places.
- Parents are also at risk in these situations. If a parent is proven to have had knowledge of their child sexting and done nothing to stop it, they could be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. This could also lead to an investigation from Child Protective Services which can end up with the child being placed in foster care. (Verywell.com)
- Most people know the story of Amanda Todd; a teenage girl who was bullied to the point of committing suicide in 2012 from the backlash of promiscuous photos she’d taken. This is not a rare event, and as cheesy as it sounds, don’t send a photo unless you’re okay with everybody seeing it.
- There are so many ways for photos to get out, whether it is like on 13 Reasons Why, where a guy’s friend sent out a photo of his girlfriend without him knowing, or if it is the recipient blatantly sending it out. People think that if they send something on Snapchat that it is safe. It’s not. There are apps to record someone’s screen and the not-so-secret secret of taking a picture of your screen on someone else’s phone, both untraceable. If someone replays or screenshots a snap, the sender can see it, so they’re led to think that the app is completely secure.
- Being bullied and ostracized are very common, especially when slut-shaming is involved. People begin to judge the sender purely by their one action. Yet no one ever seems to judge whoever asked for it or passed it around without consent.
- If a photo gets out, it also opens the door to risks of sexual predators and other ways of sexual exploitation.
Dean of Students at Perrysburg High School, Mrs. Janice Ray, explained educational ramifications as well, “Incidents that take place during the school day result in some sort of suspension and in addition, there can be legal ramifications pursued by the parties involved.” She explains how the law usually only gets involved when either full nudity or harassment can be proven. Mrs. Ray also explains that the line is sometimes hard to see, especially for teenagers whose brains are wired to take risks. She said that students do not understand the ramifications of their actions.
Students need to realize that this is not like getting a traffic ticket, this is not like getting a detention, this is something that can ruin your life.
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