Helping Kids Understand the Foolishness and Consequences of Sexting

Sexting and teens. Nearly every week, the headlines reflect the attempt of citizens, educators, and lawmakers to tackle the question: What should the punishment be for teens caught sexting?

In most states, officials may prosecute anyone, regardless of age, who creates, distributes or possesses an image of a minor engaged in sexual acts under that state’s pornography laws. And, if convicted, that person is required to register as a sex offender. Currently, laws vary state to state (check your state’s laws here).

However, as sexting becomes more socially widespread among teens — some even calling it an “epidemic,” — many consider the felony charge of trafficking child pornography too stiff a penalty for minors, especially in cases where sexting is consensual.

Such was the case in Illinois when officials charged two students with possession of child pornography following a sexting scandal at a suburban middle school. More recently, a group of Kentucky…

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