By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Other than the social consequences, if you are a minor who sends explicit pictures of yourself, you face legal consequences as well.
A 14-year-old girl sent a topless photo of herself to her 13-year-old boyfriend. Both children – the one who took the picture of herself and the one who received the photo – were charged last month under the Pennsylvania law which makes it a low level criminal offense both to take pictures of a minor (even if you’re that minor) and to knowingly view or forward an explicit picture of a minor – even if you’re also a minor.
Twenty other states like Pennsylvania are in the process of changing their old laws on sexting to prevent unwitting teenagers from being charged with a felony for sending sexy pictures of themselves – or forwarding pictures they receive to friends. That said, no matter how reduced the penalties, the sending of explicit photos of minors, even of yourself if you are a minor, can still get you caught up in the criminal justice system.
While many believe this is a parental issue and shouldn’t make a teen an unwitting perpetrator, let’s also remember that the teen is also the victim here, and sometimes the threat of punishment is required to protect her from herself.