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Nevertheless, Australian laws currently view unders as being unable to give consent to sexting, even if they meet the legal age for sexual consent. Sexting has been promoted further by several direct messaging applications that are available on smartphones. The difference between using these applications and traditional texting is that content is transmitted over the Internet or a data plan, allowing anyone with Internet access to participate.
Kik and WhatsApp appeal to teens because of the anonymity of the applications. Snapchat appeals to teens because it allows users to send photos for a maximum of ten seconds before they self-destruct. Those sending photos over Snapchat believe they will disappear without consequences so they feel more secure about sending them. There have been several cases where teens have sent photos over these applications, expecting them to disappear or be seen by the recipient only, yet are saved and distributed, carrying social and legal implications.
Even though users believe their photos on Snapchat for example will go away in seconds, it is easy to save them through other photo capturing technology, third party applications, or simple screenshots. These applications claim no responsibility for explicit messages or photos that are saved.
Fifteen percent of these teens also claimed to have received sexually explicit photos. This suggests a consent issue of people receiving photos without asking for them. This is enhanced with Snapchat , as the person receiving snapchats will not be aware of the contents until they open it. Sending sexual images as a joke makes up approximately a quarter of the participants. Sexting is a prevalent and normalized practice among youth in many western, liberal democracies.
In areas where gender roles traditionally expect men to initiate sexual encounters, sexting is used by women to offer nude images to male partners, allowing women greater latitude to instigate sex.
In , it was found that sexting is often used to enhance the relationship and sexual satisfaction in a romantic partnership. Sexting thus can be considered a "behaviour that ties into sexuality and the subsequent level of relationship satisfaction experienced by both partners". Based on the interviews conducted by Albury and Crawford, they discovered that sexting is commonly used in positive aspects.
According to Albury and Crawford, sexting was not only an activity occurring in the context of flirtation or sexual relationships, but also between friends, as a joke or during a moment of bonding. The study had a small sample size, so more research needs to be done surrounding sexting and motivation, but it is clear that sexting is a phenomenon that is not constrained to simply unattached individuals looking for fun; it is used by those in intimate relationships to increase feelings of intimacy and closeness one's partner.
Thus, instead of increasing intimacy in these types of relationships, sexting may act as a buffer for physical intimacy. While some studies have evaluated sexting by married couples or young men who have sex with men ,  the majority of attention is directed at heterosexual adolescents. Some studies of adolescents find that sexting is correlated with risky sex behaviors,      while other studies have found no link.
A widely cited study indicated the previously reported prevalence was exaggerated. Researchers at the University of New Hampshire surveyed 1, children and caregivers, reporting that only 2. Despite this, a study conducted by the University of Utah Department of Psychology   has received wide international media attention for calling into question the findings reported by the University of New Hampshire researchers. In the University of Utah's study, researchers Donald S.
Of those receiving such a picture, over 25 percent indicated that they had forwarded it to others. In addition, of those who had sent a sexually explicit picture, over a third had done so despite believing that there could be serious legal and other consequences if they got caught.
Students who had sent a picture by cell phone were more likely than others to find the activity acceptable. Strassberg, McKinnon, et al. However, while technically accurate, the 2. As seen in Table 1 of their publication, Mitchell et al. Despite it being widely reported in the media, the overall prevalence figure of 2. According to a writing by professor Diane Kholos Wysocki, although both men and women participate in "sexting", "women are more likely to sext than men".
In a study, close to half of the adults' interviewed had sexual photos or texts on their mobile device s. Many of these intimate images and words are actually sent to complete strangers. In an article in Scientific American , however, the article says that men are actually more likely to initiate some form of intimate communication, like sending nude photographs or suggestive text messages.
The reasoning behind this is that men seem to be more open about their sexual drive, which promotes the instigation of sexual contact. Also in this article, it says, "The age group that is most keen on sexting is 18 to year olds". Amy Adele Hasinoff published an article trying to get rid of the stigma that sexting is simply exploitation of sexual matters. Women are sexualized whenever they post or share any form of intimate media. When it comes to sexting, there is a big difference between sexual exploitation and a consensual decision to express one's sexuality and share an image of their own body with someone who wants to see it.
If a person sends an explicit image of themselves to a partner, then it can be against the law to re-transmit a copy of that image to another person without the consent of the originator. While there are many possible legal avenues for prosecution of people who knowingly breach the confidence of those sending sexual messages, in practice, nude images can be widely propagated without the consent of the originator.
Some young people blackmail their sexual partners and former partners by threatening to release private images of them. Studies have shown that sex crimes using digital media against minors reflect the same kind of victimization that happens offline. The report highlighted the risk of severe depression for "sexters" who lose control of their images and videos.
These risks do not only apply to young people. Lifestyle magazines often portray sexting as a positive activity for adults without mentioning the risks.
Sexting is seen as irresponsible and promiscuous for adolescents, but "fun and flirty" for adults. There are undoubtedly multiple risks when sending or receiving a sext, and these risks are something that often teens do not consider. The University of Utah study with a population sample of teens ages 14—18 stated that about one third of respondents did not consider legal or other consequences when receiving or sending sexts. Young People's Understandings of Gendered Practices of Self-Presentation  shows that teenagers engaging in sexting were concerned that their parents may see or find out about their involvement with sexting.
Some teenagers shared that their "main risks of parental discovery were embarrassment for both parents and young people and 'overreaction' from adults who feared the photo had been shared. Albury and Crawford argue that adolescents are well aware of the differences between consensual sexting and distribution of private images with negative intent.
Further, they argue young people are developing norms and ethics of sexting based on consent. Creation and distribution of explicit photos of teenagers violates child pornography laws in many jurisdictions depending on the age of the people depicted , but this legal restriction does not align with the social norms of the population engaging in the practice, which distinguish between consensual activity and harassment or revenge.
Child pornography cases involving teen-to-teen sexting have been prosecuted in Oregon,   Virginia,  and Nova Scotia. While mainstream media outlets, parents, and educators are rightfully worried about the negative legal, social, and emotional ramifications of teen sexting, much less is said about the issue of sexual consent.
According to a study conducted by professors at the University of New South Wales,  due to child pornography laws that prohibit any minor from consenting to sexual activity, issues of consent among adolescent teens is seldom discussed. Much like the discourse surrounding "abstinence-only" education , the prevailing attitude towards sexting is how to prevent it from occurring rather than accepting its inevitability and channeling it in healthier ways.
According to the study, instead of criminalizing teens who participate in sexting, the law should account for whether the images are shared consensually.
This would mean adopting an "ethics" approach, one that teaches and guides teens on how to respect bodily autonomy and privacy. According to a study done by the health journal Pediatrics , more than one in five middle school children with behavioral or emotional problems has recently engaged in sexting.
Those individuals who have reported sexting in the past six months were four to seven times more likely to engage in other sexual activities such as intimate kissing, touching genitals, and having vaginal or oral sex , compared to children who stated they did not partake in sexting.
The study included participants who were between the ages of 12 and 14 years old. The children were pulled from five urban public middle schools in Rhode Island between and Seventeen percent of the children tested claimed they had sent a sexually explicit text message in the past six months.
Another five percent admitted to sending sexually explicit text messages and nude or semi-nude photos. Sexting is generally legal if all parties are over the age of majority and images are sent with their consent and knowledge; however, any type of sexual message that both parties have not consented to can constitute sexual harassment.
Sexting that involves minors under the age of consent sending an explicit photograph of themselves to a romantic partner of the same age can be illegal in countries where anti- child pornography laws require all participants in pornographic media to be over the age of majority. Some teenagers who have texted photographs of themselves, or of their friends or partners, have been charged with distribution of child pornography, while those who have received the images have been charged with possession of child pornography; in some cases, the possession charge has been applied to school administrators who have investigated sexting incidents as well.
The images involved in sexting are usually different in both nature and motivation from the type of content that anti-child pornography laws were created to address.
In the United States, anyone who is involved in the electronic distribution of sexual photos of minors can face state and federal charges of child pornography. The laws disregard the consent of parties involved. Beyond Megan's Story" that if teens are convicted of a sexting charge, they have to register as a sex offender, and this takes away the impact of the title of sex offender.
A girl who agreed to send her girlfriend a naked picture is not as dangerous to the community as a child molester but the charge of sex offender would be applied equally to both of these cases. In a interview, assistant professor of communications at the University of Colorado Denver, Amy Adele Hasinoff, who studies the repercussions of sexting has stated that the "very harsh" child pornography laws are "designed to address adults exploiting children" and should not replace better sex education and consent training for teens.
According to Amy Hasinoff, if sexting was viewed as media production and a consensual activity, this would change the legal assumption that sexting is always non-consensual and reduce the culpability of victimized youth.
This turns sexting into a situation that would lead to different legal consequences when distribution of the material was not consented to by the creator. Primack, who draws from Amy Hasinoff's work, argued a media production model may be useful for distinguishing between child pornography and sexting from a First Amendment perspective.
Primack, the motivation for creating and distributing sexts e. For these reasons, there may be arguments - grounded in reasoning provided by First Amendment doctrine - for finding some youth sexts exchanged between persons who are of the age of consent to be legally-protected speech.
Legal professionals and academics have expressed that the use of "child porn laws" with regard to sexting is "extreme" or "too harsh". Florida cyber crimes defense attorney David S. Seltzer wrote of this that "I do not believe that our child pornography laws were designed for these situations A conviction for possession of child pornography in Florida draws up to five years in prison for each picture or video, plus a lifelong requirement to register as a sex offender.
Academics have argued that sexting is a broad term for images being sent over Internet and cell phones, between minors, adults, or minors and adults, and in an abusive manner or in an innocent manner.
In order to develop policy better suited for adolescent sexting cases, it is necessary to have better terms and categories of sexting. University of New Hampshire typology has suggested the term youth-produced sexual image to classify adolescent sexting. Furthermore, they branch into two sub-categories: Aggravated cases include cases of sexual assault, coercion, cyber-bullying, forwarding images without consent, and abusive behavior. Experimental cases are cases in which an adolescent willingly takes a picture and sends it to someone with no criminal intent and is attention-seeking.
Rosa Rebimbas introduced a bill that would lessen the penalty for "sexting" between two consenting minors in The bill would make it a Class A misdemeanor for children under 18 to send or receive text messages with other minors that include nude or sexual images.
It is currently a felony for children to send such messages, and violators could end up on the state's sex offender registry. Vermont lawmakers introduced a bill in April to legalize the consensual exchange of graphic images between two people 13 to 18 years old. Passing along such images to others would remain a crime. In Ohio, a county prosecutor and two lawmakers proposed a law that would reduce sexting from a felony to a first degree misdemeanor , and eliminate the possibility of a teenage offender being labeled a sex offender for years...
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