Over the past two years icybersafe.com has featured a number of articles about sexting, starting with the film ‘Megan sends a sext‘. Mostly we’ve focused on digital reputation and the fact that once a sext photo gets into the wild then it’s virtually impossible to stop it surfacing again, and again, and again.
Whilst digital reputation is important, what children need to realise is that sexting can be a crime, depending on the age of the people sexting and whether the pictures would be considered ‘offensive’ or ‘indecent’ by a court.
In Australia the maximum penalty for making, sending or having child abuse material is 15 years in jail!
The website www.lawstuff.org.au, operated by the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre, has pages which explain exactly how sexting can be a crime and provides examples of sexting situations. The pages are aimed at young people and are written accordingly.
The law in Australia can vary from state to state, so please click on your state or territory to find out about sexting and the law where you live:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
In addition there is an excellent Sexting Fact Sheet, focused on the law in New South Wales.
It is critical that parents have the conversation with their children about sexting - show them this website, make them read this fact sheet, and make sure that they are aware of the consequences.