Long Island Sexting Information
Today’s mobile phones are mini computers, cameras, and gaming systems all in one, presenting dangers most parents are only beginning to understand. One shockingly common and dangerous practice is sexting, the act of sending sexually explicit messages or pictures between cell phones. It is often done among young people. According to recent studies, 20% of teens admit to participating in sexting. The practice can have serious legal and psychological consequences. A Long Island sexual assault attorney examines the dangers of sexting and offers important tips for parents.
In today’s high-tech world where anything can be copied, sent, posted, and seen by huge audiences, there’s no such thing as being able to control information. The intention doesn’t matter – even if a photo was taken and sent to a boyfriend as a “gift” or token of love, the technology makes it possible for everyone to see your child’s most intimate self. In a matter of seconds, it can be forwarded to half the school, posted on Instagram, Facebook and Myspace, emailed, and circulated on the Internet. Even photos posted on the popular app Snapchat gives users a false sense of security in promising the picture will vanish in seconds. Not only can the photos be saved with a screen capture, but other apps have been created to help users save these images.
Legality of Sexting in New York
In Kings Park, NY two students were arrested after an encounter that occurred off school grounds between a male and female, who were known to one another, was recorded using a cell phone by a male acquaintance in late October and later distributed electronically. The two males involved in this incident, who are both 14 years old, were arrested and charged with Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors, a Class D Felony, Promoting a Sexual Performance by a Child, a Class D Felony, and Sexual Abuse 3rd Degree, a misdemeanor. In Pennsylvania, six teenagers were charged with child pornography after three teenage girls sent nude pictures of themselves to three male classmates.
When intimate photos that were only meant for one person to see are widely distributed to everyone in a school, it can destroy a reputation and crush a child’s self-esteem. In Cincinnati, teen Jesse Logan committed suicide after a nude photo she’d sent to a boyfriend was circulated widely around her high school, resulting in harassment from her classmates on Facebook and MySpace.
Advice for Parents
- Talk to your child about the consequences of sexting. Don’t wait for an incident to happen. If your child has a cell phone, they are old enough to sext.
- Remind your kids that once an image is sent, it can be sent to anyone and everyone, and then posted and archived on the Internet forever–never be retrieved. Ask your child how they would feel if their teachers, parents, or the entire school saw the picture, because that happens all the time.
- Talk about pressures to send revealing photos. Let teens know that you understand how they can be pushed or dared into sending something. Tell them that no matter how big the social pressure is, the potential social humiliation can be hundreds of times worse.
- Make sure to talk to them about what to do if they receive a sext message from someone. Let them know they should delete it immediately and talk to a parent or trusted adult.
- If your child has sent any nude pictures of themselves, make sure they stop immediately. Fully discuss the dangers and make sure they understand the psychological and legal consequences.
If your child should become involved in sexting activities, it is important to know your legal rights and options and be sure to talk with a lawyer. At Goldstein & Bashner, we’ll sit down with you , answer any questions you have, let you know if you have a case, and guide you through the legal process. Contact us today for a free consultation.