As social media applications evolve, so do the laws that govern them. Recently two female New Jersey high school students shared nude photos of themselves to older boys through the photo sharing app Snapchat. The school’s Superintendent and local police have requested that the photos be destroyed or else the students could face juvenile charges of child pornography. However, under a recent law, teens engaging in “sexting” would not likely face charges.

Many teens have been known to do stupid things in their lives. With today’s technology, a teen can “express themselves” sexually with ease. Many teens have been known to “sext,” but should these teens be charged with juvenile crimes? For the most part, the answer is no. Under New Jersey law, teens caught with sexually suggestive or explicit materials must participate in a remedial education program at their own expense rather than face child pornography penalties.

The law was passed unanimously in 2011 after several state legislators found that sharing nude photos between teens has been a common behavior with their generation. With the advancement of cell phones, it makes it even easier for teens to share explicit photos. Facing child pornography charges as a teen could result in a variety of negative and harsh consequences, including a lifetime of damage to a reputation. State legislators found these charges to be too harsh for teens so they decided to pass the law in its current form.

Even with the new law, teens can still be charged with juvenile crimes. Any New Jersey resident facing juvenile crimes should be sure to get the right information to ensure that their rights are protected. Having a criminal record at a young age can often have significantly negative effects on a child’s future.

Source: NJ.com, “Prosecutor: Charges unlikely for Ridgewood students caught sending, sharing explicit pics,” Dan Ivers, March 15, 2013