It's incredibly easy for a young teen in love to text her boyfriend a sexy picture-many of Long Island's tech-savvy teens walk around with all the technology they need at the touch of their smart phones. But it is just as easy for that picture to get sent, resent, and soon everyone has seen it. Teens sext in order to look cool and sexy to someone they find attractive, but too often end up embarrassed, humiliated, and depressed.
A recent case detailed in The New York Times shows just how disastrous the results could be--an eighth-grade girl sent a nude picture to her new boyfriend. When they broke up, he sent the picture to a former friend of the girl who then sent it to every contact on her phone with this vicious text message attached:
"Ho Alert! If you think this girl is a whore, then text this to all your friends."
So many people forwarded the message it went viral not only in that school, but in the surrounding four middle schools. As a result, students were arrested, parents mortified, and the young girl humiliated as it soon became apparent everyone had seen her photo.
"It's so important for young people to realize that while it is so easy to send a sexy picture, there are countless consequences that can occur, explained personal injury lawyer Neal Goldstein. "That picture can be posted on Facebook, MySpace, a website, or texted throughout a neighborhood. Kids need to be educated to learn the consequences these actions can have because there are many."
As the New York Times case shows, the original photo can be manipulated or accompanied by text that makes the photo far more devastating to its subject. If the subject is under 18, those that send, forward, or in any way help distribute the photo can be arrested under child pornography laws and may also be liable for damages caused by their actions. Claims can be brought for invasion of privacy, intended infliction of emotional distress and negligence.
"As cell phones become even more sophisticated and widespread among even younger kids, our office has seen a sharp rise in calls relating to sexting," said Goldstein. "Photos can be posted instantly across the Internet and sent to hundreds, even thousands, of recipients in no time."
If someone distributes racy pictures of your child, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our offices for a free consultation. We have experience working with child victims of these types of cases and will do everything to make your child feel comfortable and ensure that their rights are protected.