Sexting is a relatively new term yet a rapidly rising one and the impact and consequences of it can be very serious – particularly when it comes to youngsters.
With smart-phones and technology taking over and as more and more young people are glued to their screens, there has been a continued increase in minors sexting.
WHAT IS SEXTING?
Sexting is usually referred to as the sending and receiving of:
- rude text messages or videos
- naked images
- underwear poses
- sexual or ‘dirty’ pictures
This can be done via a number of channels including, text messages, social media, emails and social apps.
What does it mean for minors if they have been sexting, or if they have been exploited?
It can be a bit of a grey area when minors are involved in sexting. Firstly, did you know that under British law, despite the legal age to have sex being 16, it is illegal and a serious offence to take, possess and share indecent images of anyone under 18 years old – including if the person in the picture is yourself?
This is an offence under the Protection of Children Act 1978 and the Criminal Justice Act 1988
One of the main concerns about minor’s sexting is that once a message has been sent, they no longer have control over it, where it goes and where it could end up. Also, minors are more susceptible to being persuaded, guilt tripped or pressured into participating. The reason the law has set the age at 18 is to reduce the amount of young people being exploited. Also, to prevent culprits from participating in an act that they don’t fully understand.
However, it’s easily done and it’s an area where young people can get carried away. So it’s no surprise to us – a criminal defence solicitors based in Leeds – that we have seen a rise in cases involving the above. It is also not a surprise to us that most of our clients prosecuted for sexting involving a minor hadn’t realised they were breaking the law.