“To suggest that a juvenile who sends a sexually explicit selfie is a victim of her own act of child pornography is illogical,” stated Teresa Nelson, Legal Director of the ACLU-MN. “Child pornography laws are supposed to protect minors from predators, and Jane Doe is not a predator.”
As Jane Doe herself pointed out in a statement, too, teen selfie-sharing is not only a non-predatory practice (at least in the vast majority of cases) but also an incredibly popular one.
Seemingly, a bunch of other teens could be similarly charged. In a new report from the Journal of American Medicine Association:
A 2018 research review on minors and sexting published in JAMA Pediatrics found that 15 percent of teens have sent a sext while 27 percent have received one. The analysis was comprehensive and included a review of 39 studies with 110,380 participants, total. What’s most concerning from the findings is 12 percent of teens said they’ve forwarded a sext without the permission or knowledge of the sender, and 8 percent of teens said their sexts had been passed on without their permission.
J. Tom Morgan, professor of criminal law at Western Carolina University and author of “Ignorance is No Defense: A Teenager’s Guide to Georgia Law,” says typically the No. 1 violator of sexting laws is 13-year-old females.
In addition to the possibility of incarceration, thirty-eight states, including Alabama, place children on adult sex offender registries, often subjecting them to the same maze of restrictions and requirements as adults.
Listen to this TedTalk: Children on the registry were five times more likely to have been approached by an adult for sex in the past year. Children on the registry were four times as likely to have attempted suicide in the last 30 days.