Pin It
Texting, sexting, nude, phone
Courtesy of Stock Snap

Teen sexting is a crime in Washington, but lawmakers could change it

A new bill means that sending your own nudes will no longer be seen as distributing child porn

Washington teens, lawmakers are fighting for your nudes. A bill that could decriminalise teen sexting in the US state is making progress having been passed to the committee in the state Senate on March 4.

According to KIRO 7, the bill would change the fact that the current law means that teens who send their own nudes to be charged with a child pornography felony. This means that they end up on the sex offenders register alongside more serious offenders like actual paedophiles and rapists – although the register is tiered to reflect the severity of the crime, but this differs from state to state. 

Under the new proposal, sending your own nudes as someone under 18 won’t lead to such a drastic mark on your name. Distributing images of other teens from 13 to 17-years-old would become a misdemeanour, which is less serious than a felony charge. However, any distribution of a child under 12 would still be classed as a felony.

One teen told Crosscut that she was emailed a nude image she didn’t open or share and was later convicted of a child pornography charge. It took $60,000 in legal fees to fight the “nightmare” case and led to a period of depression and low grades.

Noel Frame, a state representative, told the site: “When the law was written, our predecessors just could not have contemplated that every teenager would have a minicomputer (also known by young people as smartphones) in their hand with a video camera connected to the internet.”

He continued: “The law was intended for people who seek to do harm against children, but because of changes in technology, the law is harming children.”

This approach stands in stark contrast to when the then UK health secretary Jeremy Hunt tried to unleash an all-encompassing ban on sexting for under-18s.

Read about how to encrypt your nudes and practice safe sexts here.