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Sexting

Sexting Definition:

Any electronic transmission of sexually explicit materials where another person is nude, semi-nude, or sexually suggestive.

What does “Electronic Transmission” mean?

Examples: email, cell phone, texting, web-chat, instant message, mobile app, web page, etc.

Sexting and the Law:

Definition: Felony: A serious crime that stays on your permanent record and can prevent you from getting a job, entering the college of your choice, holding political office, voting, and many future endeavors. Felonies typically involve a serious punishment, such as jail time.

Sexting Infographic

Here is the difference between a Felony and a Misdemeanor: A Misdemeanor is a less serious offense that allows you to maintain your basic rights, such as voting.

Take the Picture= Felony (Creating Child Pornography)

  • You all need to know that taking a suggestive, semi-nude or nude photo of a minor (even if that photo is of YOU, yourself) is considered creating child pornography under the law.
  • Convicted child pornographers are charged with a Felony and required to register as a sex offender

Show the Picture= Felony (Distribution of Child Pornography)

  • Showing the photo to a friend is considered distribution of child pornography – also a Felony charge – and subject to sex offender registry requirements.

Send the Picture= Felony (Distribution of Child Pornography)

  • Sending a suggestive, nude, or semi-nude photo of a minor in any format is considered distribution of child pornography, and those distributing could be charged with a Felony and become a registered sex offender.

Keep the Picture= Felony (Possession of Child Pornography)

  • Keeping a photo in your possession, even electronically, could bring charges of possession of child pornography, subject to Felony charges and sex offender registry requirements.

Not Reporting the Picture= Misdemeanor

  • For an adult in a position of trust: Failure to report a suggestive photo of a minor is considered a violation of child abuse laws.
  • Failure to report child abuse is a Misdemeanor charge for those who knowingly avoid reporting.

Before you press send, think about: [1]

  1. You’re post may not remain private: messages and images always have the possibility to be passed around.
  2. Once you send it, it will never truly go away. Even if you delete it, you have no control over who may have copied it and posted elsewhere.
  3. A majority of teens report having sent or post sexually suggestive or nude photos because of peer pressure. Don’t give in to the pressure to do something that makes you uncomfortable.
  4. Try to consider the recipient’s reaction. Just because a message is meant to be fun doesn’t mean the person who gets it will see it that way.
  5. Do you really know the person you are sending it to? Nearly one in five young people who send sexually suggestive messages and images, do so to people they only know online (18% total, 15% teens, 19% young adults).

Remember: once you send it or post it online, you can never get it back.



[1] The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. (2008). Sex and Tech: Results from a Survey of Teens and Young Adults. Washington, DC: Author