Child pornography laws make it illegal to depict children under the age of 18 engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Child pornography is often viewed as a chain of violations including those who create and distribute sexually explicit images to those who view, store, or email inappropriate images. While some photos, films, videotapes and electronic data present as obvious and intentional violations involving underage children, thanks to the advent of social media, some pictures circulating on the internet are teen selfies that were sent without coercion.
Though child pornography laws were created to protect minors from exploitation caused by others, states do prosecute minors under child pornography statutes for sending nude or otherwise explicit self-portraits. There is no exception in the law for taking and sending pictures of oneself, so any minor sending a racy selfie to a high school classmate could subject both themselves and the receiver to prosecution for child pornography. If the selfie enjoys wider circulation in teen social media circles and beyond, anyone who received or distributed the photo can be charged also.
To keep pace with developing and future technologies, states across the nation are seeking to expand the reach of their child pornography laws, which may, as a consequence, land more teens in trouble. For teens sending or exchanging risqué pictures, their concern can no longer be limited to whether it may bring embarrassment or even parental and academic discipline. Instead, they need to also consider whether that sexually explicit selfie can get them prosecuted under child pornography laws. As laws and technology evolve, parents are well advised to educate their children about the risks of sharing photos in their birthday suits.
If you are under suspicion of, or have been arrested for, any kind of Internet sex crime, contact the Law Offices of Andrew C. Ladd LLC. We have experience handling all types of computer or internet sex crimes and other sex crimes arising from contact on the Internet. Contact us today for help.