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Why you should talk to your kids about sexting

Nowadays, teenagers are glued to their phones. They are both a status symbol as well as a way to communicate and take in the world around them. Most people assume teens are performing innocuous activities like checking their friends' Facebook statuses or retweeting something a celebrity said on Twitter. Unfortunately, while this might be true in a majority of cases, it may not be the case in all situations.

Take for example two teens who are in a relationship with one another. While they might not be ready or willing to take their relationship to a more physical level, they may want to still fulfill their sexual urges. And in most cases, when this happens, this results in sexting.

For those who don't know, sexting is the term used to describe the act of sending and receiving nude or suggestive pictures, typically via text message. Though most teens in Wisconsin see this as completely harmless to do, it is actually incredibly illegal in our state and could lead to serious criminal charges.

As we explained last year in a December post, sexting between minors or between minors and adults constitutes the trafficking of child pornography, meaning either party could be charged with committing a crime. Child pornography charges in Wisconsin carry steep consequences including jail time and sex offender registration. Both a conviction and sex offender registration are things that can come back and haunt a person for the rest of their life, which is likely not a fate you'd like your child to suffer.

So talk to your kids about the dangers of sexting. Explain to them that they could face criminal charges because of it. In the end, your simple warning could mean the difference between your child not engaging in sexting activities and needing to contact a qualified attorney later on to handle criminal court proceedings.

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