People often think sex crime convictions are for adults having intimate and inappropriate relationships with minors. However, in today’s digital age, teens caught sending sexually explicit pictures could leave them with a child pornography charge.
How the rules apply in South Carolina
Child pornography statutes in the U.S. were initially intended to save children from sexual exploitation, not punish them. But as sexting has become a common activity among teens, those who produce or solicit any sexual content could face serious consequences. Here in South Carolina, any child who is 16 years of age or older can face charges as an adult for violating state child pornography laws.
Long-term consequences of teen sexting
No matter their circumstances, these are some of the outcomes a teen could face if charged:
- It could negatively impact their college admissions.
- They may have to register as a sex offender.
- Their sexually explicit content could remain online.
- Their charge could limit future employment prospects.
- They could face bullying or harassment at school.
- They may have to follow strict probation requirements.
Taking a different approach
Those who study teen sexting say parents and schools should be the ones dealing with these cases – not the criminal justice system. As sexting is now a regular part of teens’ intimate exploration, they say parents should talk to their kids about how these acts could hurt their future.
Parents should know their options
If one’s child is involved in a sexting scandal, it can be embarrassing, stressful and have a long-term impact on both the teen’s and parents’ life. If they do get charged, an attorney can assess their circumstances and defend their case in court.