By Mark Theoharis. Since cell phones first saw widespread adoption in the s, they've become not just ever present, but have developed vastly expanded capabilities, such as the ability to take and instantly share photos. This ability has lead to the phenomena of "sexting," where people send suggestive or nude pictures to others using their cell phones. Some states have adopted laws that prescribe penalties aimed specifically at teenagers or adolescents who send such photos. These laws make the penalties for teen sexting less severe than if an adult would send similar photos to an under-age person. To get state specific details regarding sexting, jump ahead to teen sexting laws by state.
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Sexting is making sexually suggestive images and sharing these images using mobile phones or by posting them on the internet and social media. The images might be photographs of yourself or someone else naked or partially naked. You might think that sexting is something risky, dangerous and illegal. For teenagers, sexting is often fun and consensual. They might also see sexting as part of building relationships and self-confidence, and exploring sexuality, bodies and identities.
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And most of those who do experience no negative consequences. But for teens who do share sexually explicit images, there are both psychological and legal risks, especially if coercion is involved and the images wind up being distributed beyond their intended audience. Sexting is certainly not just a teen issue, but these tips are specifically for teens and parents of teens. Various causes The reasons teens share sexually explicit images vary widely. There are also cases where the teen is responding to peer pressure, bullying or even threats. In rarer cases, adults solicit images from teens.