Teen Sexting In Michigan – Is It Child Pornography?
While reviewing some recent news articles, I stumbled across one discussing a hot topic or issue extending from Bay County, Michigan. The article was discussing teen sexting and the possible ramifications and implications of teenagers sending photos through text message. At first thought, my moralistic gut was screaming “wait, what?” But eventually, my legal brain started to process, and then the comments and suggestions began to make sense, criminally speaking.
Lets begin by first explaining and outlining the idea of teen sexting. Sexting in general is the use of a text message to engage in, discuss, and express sexual preferences, acts, desires, and opinions between individuals. Essentially, the term “sexting” has been invented over the years as there has been an increase in technological advancement. Teen sexting, therefore, involves individuals under the age of 18. This is where the predicament and issues of teen sexting lie. The words themselves may not be of legal consequence when examining teen sexting issues; however, when an individual teen begin to send photos, videos or other types of multimedia to another individual teen (or anyone for that matter) the individual sender (and even receiver) could have potentially committed a criminal and illegal act.
The reasoning there is possible criminal consequence behind photos, videos or other types of multimedia depicting a teen is due to the laws and protections on child pornography. Pornography itself, as you may know, is legal and can be possessed by individuals of legal age (which is 18 years old); however, the individual depicted or the individual in possession must also be at or over legal age. Therefore, it becomes apparent why criminal consequences, convictions, and charges can and do extend from individuals engaging in sexting, at least when one or both of the individuals are under the age of 18.
This brings about another issue and point that should be made while discussing this topic, which is that the legal age of consent to engage in sex is 16 years old. This means that individuals 16, 17, or 18 can engage in legal sexual acts between one another, except in situations that bring about a showing of authority, mental incapacity or otherwise found illegal by the criminal sexual conduct statutes here in Michigan. In the end, individual teens legally engaging in sex could potentially be found illegally creating, possessing or distributing child pornography due to teen sexting. This theory also holds true to individuals not legally allowed or of age to engage in sex, but are engaged in teen sexting that involves the use of multimedia (i.e. child pornography).
The reasoning teen sexting becomes such a huge issue and concern is partially due to the comments and opinions noted above; however, there is still the concern of sex entering into a child’s or teenager’s life too early. Bay County has recently taken an effort to educate and distribute some of the ideals discussed in this article, yet it remains with the children’s home and parents, teachers, relatives, etc. We must educate our young and reveal to them the possible consequences and repercussions if they are not acting appropriately within this new and fast pace digital world. Teen sexting can be a problem, and it can have major repercussions, so know the law, maintain your rights, and lawyer-up.