#teensexting | #sexting | Psychologist talks about teens and sexting

Justin J. Schleifer, MD

Do parents need to be worried about their teens sexting? Justin Schleifer, MD, a child and adolescent psychiatrist in outpatient services and the CRAFT program at Bradley Hospital tells parents what they need to know in this month’s column.

What is sexting?

Sexting means sending or receiving sexually explicit videos, photographs, or messages via mobile phone or other digital device.

How common is sexting among teens?

Sexting is considered a relatively common practice among teens. Estimates by researchers start at a low of 20 percent of teens and reach higher than 60 percent in some studies. Teenagers, however, believe that about 90 percent of their peers are sexting. This is an indicator that among teens, the behavior is considered normal, which has led to an increase in sexting behavior among this age group.

Is sexting bad and can you go to jail for sexting?

While the law differs from one state to another, when a minor is involved, there are legal consequences. Sexting is often considered a sexual crime, and is considered a felony in many areas. Depending upon the circumstances and the charges, offenders can face fines and/or jail time. In some states minors may even be prosecuted for simply possessing nude images of themselves on their own phone. You can find more information on this topic here. 

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