TEEN THERAPY: THE LEGAL CONSEQUENCES OF TEEN SEXTING
One of the topics that is commonly brought up by my teen clients in teen therapy is sexting. Sexting is when someone sends another person nude or nearly nude pictures of themselves via cell phone. Research has shown that as many as one in three teens (that is 33%) engage in some form of sexting. This of course raises big concerns for parents of teens. It is extremely important for parents to have an open and direct conversation with their teens about sexting and the dangerous consequences of it. Below is information from a worksheet that I have shared with my clients in teen therapy.
TEEN WORKSHEET ABOUT SEXTING
Do you know that sexting isn’t harmless? If your pictures get out you could become humiliated, get a bad reputation at school, get in trouble at school, and in trouble with your parents. You could also get into legal trouble. Read the consequences below and remind yourself of them anytime you think about sexting….
- Risk receiving criminal charges for child pornography. Both kids who send the photos and kids who receive the photos can be charged. Those who send the photos may be charged with distributing child pornography in some states. And those who receive the photos may be charged with receiving child pornography. If they distribute the photos to friends, then they also may face charges for distributing child pornography.
- Risk having to register as a sex offender. Aside from possible jail time and probation if convicted of charges related to child pornography, teens that sext also run the risk of having to register as a sex offender. Additionally, this label is burdensome for young people because of the stigmas attached and the reporting required. And, it is something that is likely to follow them for the rest of their lives.
- Risk exposing parents to legal consequences. For instance, if parents know that their child is sexting and do nothing to end it, they may be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The parents also can be subject to a civil suit if the victim’s parents choose to sue.
- Risk having to enter foster care or being removed from the home. If parents know about the sexting and do nothing to end it, then they may be subject to an investigation by Child Protective Services. Sometimes these investigations result in a child being removed from the home.
If you are a parent use the information from the worksheet above to help you start a conversation with your teen about sexting. Keep the lines of communication open and let them know that you are there for them for support.
ABOUT ESSENCE OF HEALING COUNSELING:
Roberta Alves is a therapist and counselor at the Essence of Healing Counseling with an office located in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. She is a Certified Anxiety Specialist and uses a scientific and evidence based type of therapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Research has shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is proven to be extremely effective in treating anxiety. Roberta is truly passionate about the work she does and loves serving her clients in Ft. Lauderdale and the surrounding South Florida areas. If you want to learn the proven techniques to overcome your anxiety call 954-393-2930 to schedule an appointment today.
Essence of Healing Counseling
333 N New River Drive East, Suite # 2000, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301