Teen Sexting – It’s Complicated (Pt 1)

A teenage girl sitting outside, wearing jeans, and holding a cell phone she's about to send a text message with.
Teens aren’t quite adults and aren’t quite children, which makes their sexual escapades very complicated, especially from a legal standpoint.

If you have teenage kids, then you already know that raising them is challenging. Their brains are awash with complicated chemistry, and they’re socially connected in ways that prior generations couldn’t even conceive of. Suspended between adulthood and childhood, like an emotionally awkward tug of war, they aren’t fully able to understand the far-reaching consequences of their choices or make mature decisions yet. But they’re no longer children and their impulses and desires tend to lean more into grown-up territory with every passing year. That’s why the issue of teen sexting is causing law enforcement so many problems.

Does it count as child porn when teens exchange “sexts”?

Sexting (“sex texting”) can refer to either the exchanging of sexualized written messages, or sexual pictures and videos. It’s something that, according to numerous surveys, many adults all over Michigan engage in on a daily basis – and that’s not a problem between consenting adults. After all, if you’re both consenting adults engaging in the back-and-forth play willingly, then it’s entirely your business what you share on your devices. But when it’s kids, the issue becomes much more complex. Is it child porn when teens send and receive sexual messages, or share nude pictures and videos of themselves with others? According to the cops, there’s no straight answer to that question…

Michigan’s age of consent for a teen plays a role in that answer…

Under Michigan law, the age at which a teen can consent to sex is 16. Of course, that doesn’t apply when the person they’re having sex with is a teacher, a pastor, a therapist, or any other person who could be seen as using their position or authority to influence or pressure a teen. (In this case the age of consent rises to 18.) So surely, if a 17-year-old girl takes a picture of her breasts or genitals and shares them with her boyfriend, she’ll be fine, won’t she? Because she’s over the age of consent in Michigan, right? Well, not so fast…

Michigan’s ‘child porn’ laws aren’t lined up with the age of consent laws!

As we mentioned in a recent article here at The Kronzek Firm blogs discussing the discrepancies between Michigan’s age of consent laws and our child porn laws, this can be very complicated. Even Michigan’s Supreme Court Judges said that it needed to be addressed by legislators! In essence, the age of consent says that at the age of 16 a teen can make their own sexual choices. However, the state’s child porn laws say that anyone under the age of 18 is a “child” and therefore any nude or sexual images or videos of anyone under the age of 18 counts as child pornography. For teens, this can lead to confusion and even criminal charges!

Protect your teen’s future by making sure they have a great defense!

Join us next time for a look at how this complex issue can affect a teen’s rights, and their future. Until then, if your child has been accused of a sex crime, including kiddie porn, in Lansing, Saugatuckt, Howell or Grand Rapids, whether it’s child porn-related or some other illegal sexual activity, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 7NoJail immediately! Our aggressive sex crime defense attorneys are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you and your loved ones protect themselves against false allegations and violations of their rights. 

Our top criminal defense team can be reached now at 1 866-766-5245. 

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