Is Teen Sexting Child Pornography, or Young Experimentation? (Pt 3)

Does a nude selfie, taken by a teen, count as child pornography? The law says yes!


Thanks for joining us again as we unpack this difficult issue. If you’ve only just stumbled on this series from The Kronzek Firm, we recommend you spend a few moments getting caught up. If you’ve been with us from the start however, let’s pick up where we left off last time…


While the majority of Michigan law enforcement, and many in the legal field, believe that teen sexting is not technically a crime, that isn’t to say that it isn’t cause for concern! In fact, numerous recent studies have shown that there’s definitely a reason for parents and school officials to be aware of what is happening behind closed doors. And be prepared to respond appropriately.


Teen sexting comes with unfortunate gender labels…


A small survey conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan revealed the social biases attached to teen sexting. Researchers interviewed teenage boys who’d received “sexts” from young girls – all of whom they claimed would have sex with them. The unfortunate general consensus among the boys was that sexting is common among girls who are thought of as being “sluts.” On the flip side, girls who refused to participate were often labeled “stuck up” or “prudes”. The boys, it seems, suffered no labels, regardless of whether or not they participated in sexting.


Amy Hasinoff, the author of  Sexting Panic: Rethinking Criminalization, Privacy, and Consent addresses the fact that sexting itself is a form of sexuality, not a gateway to sexuality. She points out that blame is often placed on the shoulders of young girls, without addressing the issue of their ability to choose their own course of action. This argument, however, opens the door to debate about the age of consent. When is a young person old enough to fully understand the consequences of their choices?


Most teens don’t experience negative outcomes from sexting!


Elizabeth Englander, a professor of social psychology at Bridgewater State University, and the founder of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center, conducted a study of 18-year-olds that shed some light onto this contentious subject. According to her findings, most teens who sent nude pictures said that the experience had no negative outcomes for them. This information flies in the face of what we are taught to believe about teen sexting!


Most girls, Englander found, did experience some pressure to send the images, but weren’t necessarily opposed to it. There was, however, a distinct minority whom she labeled the “pressured sexters” who participated exclusively because they felt cornered and pressured into participating. Girls who said they wouldn’t have done it unless they were goaded or pushed. These girls, says Englander, are far more vulnerable.


Those who do, however, may be vulnerable to abuse.


And it’s these same young girls who, according to the study, are more likely to participate because they think it’ll get them a boyfriend, and not because they already have one. They apparently hope that by sexting they’ll be viewed as self-confident and daring. Sadly, however, the opposite is usually the case. Research shows that girls who are pressured into sexting usually feel worse afterwards, are less confident about their bodies, and are less sure of their place among their peers at school.


So what can, and should, be done about teen sexting? Is there a solution, and is it enough of a problem to warrant one in the first place? Join us next time we wrap up this subject, and discuss possible options. Until then, if you or a loved one have been accused of a sex crime in Michigan, call the experienced sex crime defense attorneys at The Kronzek Firm today. We are available 24/7 at 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail) to help you with your legal concerns. We’ve been fighting criminal charges in Michigan since the last century.


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