Lifestyle

Naked and dangerous truth about sexting

IT STARTS as a text message.

But teenagers creating and distributing naked images can lead to child pornography charges.

Psychologist John Glanville spoke to the students of Our Lady of the Southern Cross College and Dalby State High School about the legal ramifications of what is popularly known as sexting - naked images sent via text message.

"The people taking it are deemed to be producing child pornography," Mr Glanville said.

"If they send it on, they are distributing it."

Sexting is classed as creating, possessing and distributing child exploitation material, even if the person committing the offence is a child.

Mr Glanville said child offenders could potentially be placed on the sex offenders register.

"They don't have a clue to what it means down the track," he said.

"This is to give them that information - to provide a solution to it."

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College councillor Ros Quirk said the school did not receive many reports about sexting in the school.

"We're not naïve," Ms Quirk said.

"We know a lot is happening behind closed doors."

Ms Quirk said students needed to be taught self-respect in addition to scaring them.

"As a councillor, my aim is to build kids up so that they have enough self-respect and enough self-awareness to make the choice not to do it," she said.

"If we can give these kids the confidence to avoid doing it in the first place, our job is done. Prevention is better than a cure."

Mr Glanville said the legal system was continually clogged due to charges surrounding sexting.

"The laws that were supposed to protect them…are being used against them," he said.

The psychologist said he also taught self-respect to students he spoke to.

"Their values have to align with their actions," Mr Glanville said.

"We are setting them a challenge to put self-respect first rather than cool, sexy and popular."

SEXTING FACTS

  • Sexting is creating and sending nude images in a text message.
  • About 24% of high-school aged teens have been involved in a form of nude sexting.
  • About 61% of teenagers who have sent nude images admitted they were pressured to do it at least once.
  • About 17% of sexters share the messages they receive with others, and 55% of those share them with more than one person.

When sexting involves someone under 18, it can be considered child pornography.

Topics:  sexting, technology, teenagers


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