With our lives moving ever-further into cyberspace, it can be difficult to know how sexual content fits into the online world. It is important to remember that online posts are typically public and can be complicated, if not impossible, to delete.
You are responsible for everything you post online. If anyone sends you a photo or a message that makes you feel uncomfortable, report it immediately.
- Report all instances of sexually explicit photos.
- Never post anything online that you might regret later.
- Remember that your employers, colleagues, friends and teachers can easily find everything you post online.
Real world example: Just like in real life, when it comes to sex online you need to protect yourself. According to CNSnews.com, a 14-year-old New Jersey girl was accused of child pornography after posting 30 sexually explicit photos of herself online. As a result, she may need to register as a sex offender.
Sending or forwarding sexually explicit photos, videos, or messages from a mobile phone is known as “sexting.” In many states, sexting could be considered manufacturing and distribution of child pornography.
- When you share an explicit photo with one person, you could easily be sharing it with everyone you know. Don’t share anything that you wouldn’t want everyone to see.
- Ignore texts from unknown phone numbers.
- Report any instances of sexting to the proper authorities.
Real world example: According a People Magazine article, when a 14-year-old male student from Falmouth, Massachusetts texted a sexually explicit photo of his 13-year-old girlfriend to a few friends, local authorities became involved quickly. The boys who were texted the photo could be charged with trafficking child pornography and face the possibility of having to register as sex offenders.
A 20-year-old who meets a 16-year-old for sex will go to jail in many states in the US because it is a crime. Do not allow yourself to be preyed upon by those who would commit such crimes. Question what kind of person would risk jail time to meet a teenager for sex. Question what else would they do? Would they forcibly rape you? Blackmail you? Kidnap you? The red flag needs to go up. Only a bad, potentially dangerous adult will meet a teen for sex. It is a crime. Report it!
- Never lie about your age.
- Report anyone who harasses, threatens, or messages you inappropriately.
- Block anyone that makes you feel uncomfortable, and if you’re under 18, do not add adults as friends unless you know them in real life.