To Sext or Not to Sext


Teenage angst and blissful ignorance perfume a dimly lit bedroom. Khalid’s voice acts as white noise barricading all logic from intertwining with the adolescent mind. A vibration occurs on a nightstand next to a drivers ed practice booklet and with a quickness, the room’s occupant reaches for the origin of the vibration to find it was their rose-gold iPhone 7. They open their device to see a “hey are you up?” text from their math class crush, accompanied by the three dots of death. Then, after a minute of heart palpitating filled anticipation, a blue bubble appears bearing the words “send nudes.” They launch their phone into the air, sending it crashing onto the bed, for discarding the phone might somehow result in the message magically ceasing to exist. However, they eventually give in to the temptation of validation. So they prop, angle, and contort until the best visual has been achieved and then they hit send.

Now, are you aware that both parties involved have committed a crime? After surveying students it’s been made evident that most teenagers aren’t fully cognizant of Georgia’s teen laws, especially pertaining to sex crimes such as underage sexting.

“Requesting nude pictures from a minor is illegal; federal law prohibits enticing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct,” said the National Coalition Against Censorship.

So, not only is sending explicit images of a minor illegal but requesting them is as well. This means the math class crush texting “send nudes” was in violation of a federal law which could land them with punishments ranging from registering as a sex offender to time in Juvie. Just like that, your future could be ruined. Registering as a sex offender means every job application, you will have to disclose that you’re on the list. However, it doesn’t end with just requesting and sending nudes.

There have been cases in which teens have been arrested for possessing nude pictures of themselves,” stated the NCAC.

Yup, you heard correctly, by possessing nude photos of yourself you are also violating the law. Meaning, until you are a legal adult you technically don’t own all rights to your body, which some students had a hard time accepting.

“I think it’s so dumb that we don’t own the rights to our own bodies it’s my body, isn’t it. How can I get arrested for having a nude photo of my body, that doesn’t make no sense,” exclaimed a senior.

But let’s say that you’re a senior, and you and the person you’re sexting are both legal adults there’s still a risk of consequence.

It is also worth noting that schools can punish students for sexting even if the students are not breaking the law and if all students involved are legal adults,” said the NACA

In today’s day and age, sexting has become standard practice due to advancements in technology i.e. smartphones. As a result of these advancements, states are reforming their laws pertaining to sex crimes. These laws affect a large percentage of high schoolers. This fact alone should encourage students to educate themselves about not commonly shared information relating to said laws.

“Anyone who creates, possesses, or distributes nude or explicit photos of a juvenile can be charged with child pornography or related crimes, such as the sexual exploitation of a minor”, stated Criminal Defence Lawyer Mark Theoharis. “Child pornography charges can arise whenever a person sends or receives explicit images of a person under the age of 18.”

Nonetheless, do make it known that once you begin the cultivation of your fundamental understanding of these laws, bouts of regret may arise. For example, a student upon being exposed to sex crime laws had a self-reflecting moment that many other students are sure to also experience.

“I know them now, and knowing them makes me feel bad about myself, and I know that I should’ve been smarter than that, then to do it,” said a senior.