What Is "Sexting" and Why Is It a Problem?

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What is “Sexting” and Why is it a Problem?
The word “sexting” is a combination of the words “sex” and “texting. Sexting is the slang term for the use of a cell phone or other similar electronic device to send or receive nude or semi-nude pictures or videos of sexually explicit images. It can also refer to text messages of a sexually charged nature. As technology has advanced cell phones have the ability to record and send photos, as well as videos. The practice of sending suggestive and explicit pictures has increased, especially among teenagers due to pressure from their boyfriend/girlfriend, or other social peers.

From generation to generation, teenagers and adults have been exchanging sexually suggestive and explicit letters, messages and other materials, so sexting shouldn’t come as a big surprise. On the other hand, the ease with which photos and videos can be disseminated is a concern. A photo shared between two people can quickly become a viral spectacle. We have seen this happen over the past few years with various celebrity photos and sex videos. The problem is that photos and videos that are sent privately can easily be shared with others. Once the digital images are out in the open, they leave a digital footprint, especially online.

Since sexting is such a new phenomenon, it is still debated as to what the correct form of action to take against teenagers and their use of sexting. Could sexting be considered child pornography? The Oxford Dictionary of Law Enforcement defines child pornography as: An image of a child involved in sexual activity or in a sexually provocative pose. A person who takes, makes, shows, distributes, advertises, or possesses an indecent ‘photograph or pseudo‐photograph’ of a child commits an offense. A ‘pseudo‐photograph’ is an image, created by computer graphics or any other means that resembles a photograph and can include electronically stored data that can be converted into such images. A ‘child’...
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