By Dhar Law, LLP
Teenagers often feel they are invincible, like nothing bad will ever happen to them and that life is always fair. Oftentimes, this leads them to trust people they should stay away from or to make poor decisions regarding who they interact with. Any parent of a teenager knows that teaching them is a balancing act between letting them make their own choices and protecting them from dangers they do not see coming. As mobile devices have become so popular and social media platforms are accessible at all times of the day and night, one thing that parents should be teaching all their children is the dangers of sexting.
Your teen could face criminal charges
There are legal consequences of sexting that your children may be unaware of. If they receive or send sexually explicit messages, they may be in trouble with the law. Even if teens did not ask for a picture but it was forwarded to them, they may still be charged with a sex crime. Those charged with a sex crime must register with the government as a sex offender and inform anyone they live by of the charges for the rest of their lives. Small choices made at a young age can have lasting consequences for teenagers.
Your teen may exhibit early sexual behavior
Those who sext when they are young are more likely to engage in sexual activity at a younger age, which can be damaging both emotionally and physically. Teens who have sex with multiple partners are at an increased risk for health problems and sexually transmitted diseases. Many get caught up in sex and lose sight of motivations and goals they previously had.
Your teen may find their pictures posted online as a form of revenge.
Revenge porn is a problem that has gotten worse over the years. Once teens send a sexually explicit message to someone else, they no longer have control over who sees it. While they think they are in love now, if the relationship ends badly, the recipient may choose to show friends or post the photo online without the permission of the sender. This can have devastating consequences for teens and adults. Even apps that claim they are secure have security breaches, and teens are safer not sending the pictures at all.
Your teen may need representation
Online behavior can have legal consequences. If your teen has been caught up in a sexting scandal and you are not sure where to turn, consult an attorney immediately to ensure your child’s rights are protected.