Sexting and the Law Cybertraps Live 014

In today’s episode, we are going to talk about sexting and the law. We are going to look at the legal risks for children, educators, and parents, and what to do if you see something on kids’ devices. Content warning, we are going to talk about sexting and child pornography.

Show Outline

  • In today’s episode, we are going to talk about sexting and the law. We are going to look at the legal risks for children, educators, and parents, and what to do if you see something on kids’ devices. Content warning, we are going to talk about sexting and child pornography.
  • Background
  • A Brief History of Relevant Technology
    • Almost every technology has been used to take nude selfies
    • Things didn’t really take off until images could be created easily without third parties
      • Late 60s to early 1970s — Instant cameras take off
      • Mid-1970s — Video recorders
  • Federal and State Child Pornography Laws
    • Federal Law
      • 18 U.S. Code CHAPTER 110— SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND OTHER ABUSE OF CHILDREN
        • Sexual exploitation of children (production) — 15-30 years
        • Production, distribution, reception, and possession — 5-20 years
        • Increased penalties for second offenses, severity of offense, etc.
      • Law prohibits depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor. Mere nudity can constitute “sexually explicit conduct.”
      • Interstate commerce is required for federal jurisdiction. This covers transport in U.S. Mail, private carriers like UPS or FedEx, and the Internet.
      • Even an image remains within one state, federal prosecutors may assert jurisdiction if the items used to produce or store the images themselves traveled in interstate commerce (i.e., a digital camera, smartphone, computer, CD-ROM, USB stick, etc.
    • State Laws
      • Every state prohibits child pornography
      • Virtually all use language similar to the federal statutes, although there are some minor variations
  • “Romeo and Juliet” Statutes
    • In general, there is no “selfie” exception to federal and state child pornography laws
    • However, several states have adopted so-called “Romeo and Juliet” exceptions
  • Legal Risks for Children
    • Prosecution for production, possession, or distribution of child pornography
    • Prosecution under laws penalizing “revenge porn” or “electronic sexual assault”
    • link.cybertraps.com/ESA
  • Legal Risks for School Administrators and Educators
  • Legal Risks and Obligations of Parents
    • Children have no expectation of privacy with respect to devices which you have bought and for which you supply the data plan
    • No parental exception to child pornography laws
      • Kellyanne and Claudia Conway
    • If you see sexting images of your child
      • Frank conversation with your child
      • Potential consequences
      • Review family rules regarding dating, texting, and sexual behavior
    • If you see sexting images of another child, do you have a duty to report?

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