Not all sexting is the same

Love this! A recent report from the Crimes Against Children Research Center in New Hampshire does something sensible and useful (not an easy feat in the research world). Using data from several sources, it delineates between two types of sexting — (1) “experimental,” in which a young person takes a picture of themselves willingly for the purpose of pursuing romance or for sexual experimentation — both of which are considered normative, and (2) “aggravated,” in which there is either adult involvement and/or “intent to harm” whether through force, malice, and/or bullying.

Why is this so important? Because it helps law makers determine which instances of sexting should be prosecuted! Only those considered “aggravated” would be considered to result in any legal recourse. “Experimental” sexting would not be considered legally (though educators/parents/trusted adults may want to intervene as a teachable moment).

While I may be oversimplifying this, I think it’s a great start to determining how to protect — not punish — youth who are simply using tools available to them to establish and maintain romantic and sexual relationships. And what teen doesn’t want to do that?

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