Sexting Teens in Nova Scotia Face Child Porn Warnings

Sexting

Officials in Nova Scotia are warning teenagers in the Atlantic province that sending nude photos of themselves could lead to criminal charges. According to police, over 50 students in the Sydney area have been texting and emailing each other explicit photos, otherwise known as sexting.

At this stage, the local school board is distributing a police letter which explains to the teens that anyone posting explicit photos of anyone under 18 is considered to be distributing child pornography. No charges have yet been laid however.

Making it illegal for teens to express their burgeoning sexuality through the technology they use to communicate may be an uphill battle for police, but they’re trying. “We are approaching this in terms of an education and awareness piece right now, but again, police are aware that it’s happening and we certainly will be monitoring this,” said Desiree Vassallo, a police spokeswoman. “We want them to know that it is a serious offence and would be prosecuted as such.”

While some might expect adolescent boys to be the main offenders, that actually isn’t the case. Teenage girls are said to be sexting the most, apparently with little concern over their public reputations or potential online exposure.

“They are very explicit pictures,” Staff Sgt. Mike Kennedy of the Cape Breton Regional Police told CTVNews.ca. He added that it was mostly young girls taking photos of themselves and sending them to their boyfriends. “Some of the guys were trading them like hockey cards,” he said.

While the police and school officials seem surprised and overwhelmed by this teen behavior, others are less scandalized.

“Mass media not only encourages, it often celebrates girls for displaying a performative sexuality,” says relationship expert Cynthia Loyst. “It shouldn’t be surprising when we see young people mimicking what they see in media every day,” she said. “This is a strong reminder of the importance of comprehensive and age-appropriate sex education… It’s equally important to teach young people to think critically about the sexual images that surround them every day.”

In a highly visual culture, where the average age of a fashion model on a magazine cover is 16, young women and young men need to be taught that sexting photos of themselves now can lead to embarrassment and heartache in the future. If they ever hope to attend a reputable school or get a good job, they must learn to think twice before they text explicit pictures of themselves. And then they should think again.

Talk To Us! Should teens who sext their boyfriends and girlfriends be considered child pornographers?

 

 

 

Image source: Zephoria