Sexting is a punishable offense just in case you thought it was your right

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There is something about texting just before blacking out of sleep. Truth be told, most people are not talking business on text messages during weird hours. According to study, more than 50 per cent of people using their phones late night exchange sexually explicit text messages with or without photographic images.

This might mean fun and pleasure, until you find yourself in cuffs for what may look like your right. Maybe adulthood could excuse your undesirable behavior but the law is not sparing these ‘YOLO’ legion. In fact, most respondents are unaware that many jurisdictions consider sexting among minors – particularly when it involves harassment or other aggravating factors – to be child pornography, a prosecutable offense. Convictions of these offenses carry steep punishments, including jail time and sex offender registration.

This law might not be active in Kenya but smartphone newbies best be armed with developing rules and regulations. Most parents buy phones for their young ones in faith that they are the only important contacts on their devices. Given the harsh legal penalties sometimes associated with youth sexting and the apparent frequency with which youth are engaging in it, the lack of comprehension regarding such penalties poses a significant problem.

Based on the research done by Drexel University, those who were aware of potential legal consequences reported sexting as a minor significantly less than those who were not aware of the legal consequences. Additionally, most respondents who reported being unaware of the potential legal consequences of sexting expressed the belief that they may have been deterred from sexting as a minor if they had known.

The finding that legal consequences may deter youth from sexting has important policy implications, according to the researchers. In many jurisdictions, the law has yet to catch up with youth sexting behavior and technological advances. Until recently, most states did not have a legal mechanism in place to handle cases of teenage sexting. Instead, they were required to fit this new teenage subculture into the existing legal framework.

As a result, youth sexting was often subsumed under laws governing serious child pornography and child exploitation offenses. Convictions of these offenses carry steep punishments, including jail time and sex offender registration—punishments that many lawyers and legislatures have deemed too harsh for adolescent sexting

“Young people need to be educated about the potential consequences of sexting—legal, social and psychological,” David DeMatteo, a researcher said. “The education should come from many sources – the more young people hear the message, the more likely it will be to sink in – so they should be educated by their parents, schools and perhaps even law enforcement.”

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Winfred Kuria
Winfred Kuria is a self-constituted web content writer in charge of Tech News and Events Publicity at Kachwanya.com. She will communicate in the simplest way possible with an aim of changing the world one mind at a time.
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