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Unwary teens’ online behavior can reap harsh criminal consequences

Colorado parents know all about the vulnerabilities of their children, who are understandably prone to occasionally rash behavior and questionable judgment as they work their way toward adulthood. Moms and dads were once kids, too, and know that the road to maturity is an evolving process.

In short, it is expected that our sons and daughters make some mistakes on the journey. Thankfully, most of those often turn out to be minor mishaps that provide instructive takeaways.

It is not always the case that conduct turns out harmless, though. A recent national media piece underscores the frightening legal repercussions that adolescents can face when engaging in one activity that is highly popular among legions of teens across the country.

Namely, that is so-called “sexting,” the act of sending and receiving sexually suggestive or explicit images online.

To many juveniles, that act seems relatively trivial. Reportedly, about 14% of American teens have sent a sext. Nearly one-quarter of them say they have received one.

Here’s what happened to a young girl sending a short sext video featuring herself to two other teens in one state, as noted in the above article: She was criminally prosecuted and convicted as a child pornographer.

We suspect at Shazam Kianpour & Associates that many of our readers might find that outcome unduly harsh and a gross misapplication of law. After all, the victimized child at issue was the girl herself.

The article makes a telling point regarding the case and the application of sexting laws currently in many states across the country. It underscores that, “States are now struggling to keep up with the changing realities of teenage behaviors.”

Many commentators nationally state that teen sexting cases in most instances should be handled by schools and parents, not criminal law authorities.

It is hard to disagree with the logic that drives that recommendation. Most teens engaging in such behavior act without real malice and, often, without even knowing that sexting can even be deemed an illegal offense.

Questions or concerns regarding sexting or other behaviors that often land teens in legal hot water can be directed to a proven team of juvenile-defense attorneys.

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