'Sexting' and the Law in Australia

by The FindLaw Team

A survey conducted by a magazine aimed at teenage girls found that four in ten of the respondents were asked to send nude photos of themselves via the internet – highlighting the explosion of ‘sexting’ amongst teenagers, which may include sending or transmitting pictures and video via mobile phones, or the of uploading images or video online, making it available to another person. The proliferation of mobile devices with the ability to send pictures and video quickly has led to the potential that many teenagers can find themselves in legal hot water from various State and Commonwealth legislation relating to child pornography – even if the forwarding of the images was consensual. Teenagers are often unaware that they can run foul of the law through their ‘sexting’ activities, and also might not be conscious of the fact that once the images are on the internet, it’s almost impossible to erase.

State and Commonwealth Legislation

Commonwealth law, Part 10.6 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 makes it an offence to access, transmit, publish, possess, control, supply, or obtain child pornography. Similarly, Queensland under s 210 of the Criminal Code 1899, New South Wales under s 91H(2) of the Crimes Act 1900, and s 69 and 70 of the Crimes Act 1958 in Victoria have similar child pornography legislation.

State and Commonwealth child pornography laws aren’t avoided on the basis that both parties are the same age. If the images or video in question is in relation to a minor, the individual who possesses or distributes the material might be in breach of the law.

Throughout history, teenagers in relationships have had to deal with many complications, but the onset of modern technologies has made navigating teen love much more difficult. Intimate pictures and videos can be distributed at a rapid rate and can be disseminated far and wide. The permanency of material posted online can haunt young people forever, additionally, the legal consequences are just as dramatic, inadvertently staining young lives.
 

 



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