Today's teens are always connected. They live out their lives online and in the public eye. They share photos on Instagram, tweet live from concerts, and message their friends instead of calling. But sometimes teens don't make wise choices about what they're posting, sharing, or texting. And, one impulsive decision can affect their lives for years to come. Although statistics on sexting varies, a report in the June edition of JAMA Pediatrics revealed that at least one in seven teens engages in sexting.
Be sure your teen knows the risks of sexting
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Several years ago, when my son was a newly minted teenager, I discovered, on accident, that he was receiving nude pictures from a young lady at his school. I would have never believed it had I not seen it with my own eyes, and sadly: I did. I stared at him and made a weird noise. I explained what I saw but told him not to look.
Sexting can happen on any electronic device that allows sharing of media and messages including smartphones, tablets, laptops or mobiles. In the UK the age of consent for sexual intercourse is However, it is an offence to make, distribute, possess or show any indecent images of anyone aged under 18, even if the content was created with the consent of that young person. The law is contained in section 1 Protection of Children Act The police have said that sexting by children will primarily be considered as a safeguarding issue. The police must, by law, record all sexting incidents on their crime system but as of January , they can decide not to take further action against the young person if it is not in the public interest. This will be at the discretion of the police. The government has also produced Departmental Advice on Searching, Screening and Confiscation which states that schools have the power to search pupils for devices, search data on devices and delete any indecent images. For more information, see our page on School powers to search and screen pupils.