Sexting is normally known as the act of posting sexually explicit messages or pictures, principally between smartphones. The expression was initially prominent around 2005.
As sending text messages from mobile phones has become a focus in teenager social life, parents, educators and advocates have grown increasingly troubled about the role of mobile phones in the sexual lives of teenagers. A recent research study from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project (pewinternet.org/topics/Teens.aspx) found that 4% of mobile phone using teenagers between age 12 and 17 say they have sent sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images or videos of themselves to someone else using SMS text messages . This practice is typically known as “sexting” in the current vernacular. Additionally, 15% say they have received these kinds of images images of someone they actually know via SMS.
In 2008, a Virginia assistant principal was charged with having child pornography and associated offences after he had been asked to check out a rumored sexting event at the high school where he worked. Upon finding a student in possession of a photo on his cellphone that represented the torso of a girl wearing only underpants, her arms mostly covering her breasts, the assistant principal showed the image to the principal who instructed him to retain the photo on his computer as proof, which he did. The judge later ruled that the image did not constitute child pornography due to the fact under Virginia law, nudity alone is not sufficient to qualify a picture as child pornography; the image has to be “sexually explicit”. Loudoun County Prosecutor James Plowman stands by his original assessment of the photograph and affirms he would not have pursued the case if the assistant principal had agreed to resign. Instead, the assistant principal got a second mortgage on his house and spent $150,000 in attorneys’ fees to clear his name.
In July 2010, Londonderry High School teacher Melinda Dennehy pled guilty and received a one-year suspended sentence for distributing racy photos of herself to a fifteen year old pupil. In Fort Wayne, Indiana, a teenage boy was indicted on felony obscenity charges for allegedly transmitting a photo of his genitals to various female classmates. Another boy was faced with child pornography in a similar case.
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