‘Sexting’ teens breach porn law

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by X3 on in Uncategorized

Interesting artilce found here about sexting.

Children sending and receiving sexually explicit images on mobile phones – or ”sexting” – are unwittingly falling foul of child pornography laws, a parliamentary hearing on child cyber-safety has heard.

Education researcher Paul Weldon told the hearing that ”laws designed to protect children from adults [were] now being used against children”.

Dr Weldon cited the case of a 14-year-old boy in Bunbury, Western Australia, who pleaded guilty last week to child pornography charges, after footage of a 14-year-old girl having sex with two other boys was downloaded onto his mobile phone. It is understood that the footage had been widely circulated among other schoolchildren.

Dr Weldon, from the Australian Council for Education Research, told the committee that many children who swapped sexually explicit material online or via mobile phone failed to distinguish between what was private and public information when online.

”Anything on the internet has a footprint and that can be there forever and a day … it’s discoverable for a long time and that could harm the chances of a young person,” he said.

Minors can be charged under federal legislation with child sex offences for filming, receiving or downloading sexual images of themselves or other children.

A 2009 survey of 4770 students by the Association of Independent Schools of Victoria found that 7.3 per cent of children between school years 5 and 11 had been asked to send a naked picture of themselves.

The figure was at its highest among year 11 girls, jumping to 16.3 per cent.

Dr Gerry White, also of the Australian Council for Education Research, said that governments ought to work with parents and children to create policies designed to ”break down the perception that the online space is a private one”.

His assertion was backed up by the Victorian Child Safety Commissioner, Bernie Geary, who said industry could not be relied on to protect young people from cyber threats.

”I don’t think we’ll ever get the solutions from people who are selling us a product, and the gambling industry is a good example of that,” Mr Geary said.

But he cautioned against viewing the online space as a hostile or dangerous one for young people.

”We mustn’t be looking at the cyber world as the enemy,” he said.

”Children need to be supporting adults in this dynamic, as well. Very often children can work with adults and say, ‘this is not as big a deal as you think it is’.”

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