CHILDREN AS YOUNG AS FIVE ARE SEXTING
A July 2017 BBC blog entitled, “Thousands of children sexting, police say”, reported that police investigated a 5-year-old for sexting. “Thousands of children have been investigated for sexting.” It is illegal to sext, solicit sexting from a minor, or possess/distribute sexual images of minors including yourself.
I was a prosecutor for 3 1/2 years and a defense attorney for 44 years representing juveniles accused of crimes. I am aware of cases where children as young as 2 have participated in sexual acts/exploration at the urging of older minors. Am I surprised a 5-year-old can sext? Absolutely not. I am aware of 5-year-olds engaging in sexual acts with other 5-year olds. It is not just boys doing it but girls as well. There are cases where young girls have been solicited to sext pictures of themselves and their younger siblings.
PARENTS: DO NOT ASSUME YOUR MINOR WOULD NEVER ENGAGE IN SUCH BEHAVIOR. YOU MUST TALK WITH THEM ABOUT INAPPROPRIATE TOUCHING WITH OTHERS AND ABOUT SEXTING. DOING SO WHEN YOUR CHILD IS FOUR IS NOT TOO SOON.
I very strongly recommend you do not permit your minors to use social media and file sharing programs until they are 15 or 16, are mature, are good students, and with the full knowledge you are going to be checking on what they are posting and sharing. You have a limited window to protect and properly raise your children. It ends in most cases when they turn 18 or when they legally become an adult.
Allowing your minors to have apps like Snapchat and other similar apps that give your minor the false belief what they have sent/posted cannot be shared and will vanish in a number of seconds is inviting your minor to send images of themselves or others they know are illegal and say things to shock their friends which are illegal. Snapchat recently added “Snap Map.” Parents have described this feature as “dangerous”. Another person described it as “awful. An invitation for stalkers, kidnappers, burglars, and relationship trust issues.”
Please review my blog on the number of criminal charges in California that your minor could be accused of if they just request a minor under 14 to sext to them. SEXTING REQUEST TO A MINOR UNDER THE AGE OF 14 CAN LEAD TO VERY SERIOUS CHARGES Please see my blog on Dangerous Apps your minors should not have.