What families need to know about Sexting

Due to the increase in the number of incidences of sexting in our community, we thought it would be a good idea to provide students and families with a clear understanding of the law, the issues and most importantly how to address the issue in your home.

According to the Law:

‘Sexting’ is sending nude, sexual or indecent photos (or ‘selfies’) using a computer, mobile phone or other mobile device.

Sexting is a crime if you intentionally send an intimate image of a person under 18 to others, even if they agree to the sext message being sent. You could also be charged by police with child pornography offences.

From 2 November 2014 it is also an offence to send a sext message of an adult (18 or over) to others if they do not agree to the image being distributed.

http://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/find-legal-answers/sex-and-law/sexting-and-child-pornography

QUESTION: So what happens if a young person takes or send pictures of their friends on their mobile phone, especially if they are not fully dressed, even if they agree?

ANSWER: They could be charged by police for committing a criminal offence.

It may seem like harmless fun, but be careful – if a young person sends sexual images electronically or agree to other people taking them, they can become part of that young person’s ‘digital footprint’, which may last forever. It could damage their future career prospects or relationships.

The maximum penalty for this offence is two years jail

At Salesian our experience is that our students are not usually named as the person taking the photos, but play a key part in the illegal distribution of these kinds of images.

It is important for students and families to understand that there are significant consequences for this behaviour, including the possibility of being registered as a sex offender.

Developed by Victorian Legal Aid we have included a summary of the law below. Please be aware State and Federal law differ slightly.

Sex, young people, and the law

  • It is illegal to send on, post or share a sext who is under 18
  • If you’re 18 or over you will break the law if you make, keep, ask for or send a sext of anyone under 18
  • If you’re under 18 and you’re in Victoria, you can:
    • Make, keep or send a sext of yourself
    • Keep a sext of someone else as long as no-one in it is more than two years younger than you and it does not show any crimes
    • National laws against taking, sending of keeping a sext anyone under 18 can also apply in some cases.
    • Received a sext? Delete it. Created a sext? Delete it. Sent a sext? Ask others to delete it.

 

This is a complex issue for young people and their families. We encourage you to speak to your young people about their use of technology and social media, as well as consent and relationships.

Having said all of this, please do not feel like you are alone. Here are some resources below that we know can help, or you can always contact a member of the Wellbeing Team at the College, or your son’s Year Level Coordinator.

 

Wellbeing Team: 9807 2644

Brendan Douglas                                                       Joelle Chaperon                                Jayne Cowell

Assistant Principal – Students                      College Youth Worker              College Counsellor

 

Outside Resources

Victorian Legal Aid:

http://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/find-legal-answers/sex-and-law/sexting-and-child-pornography

 

Kids Help Line:

https://kidshelpline.com.au/parents/tips/sexting-and-its-consequences/

Youth Law:

http://youthlaw.asn.au/learn-about-the-law/sexting/

Law Stuff:

http://www.lawstuff.org.au/vic_law/topics/Sexting