Sending sexually explicit material using an electronic device, often known as sexting, is a fairly common practice among Georgia teens. While many individuals participate in this behavior consensually with a romantic partner, there may be severe legal consequences to creating and distributing such explicit material. Although sexting may be socially acceptable to many teens, it is essential to understand that this behavior is generally unwise and illegal.

A 2017 article from the Marietta Daily Journal reports that 20% of teenagers engage in sexting. The newspaper article states that in most cases, teens send such sexually explicit material to their romantic partners. The majority of cases involve a girlfriend sending sexually graphic photos to her boyfriend. Recipients may choose to share these photos with their friends, especially as a form of revenge after the romantic relationship ends. Even when unintended distribution does not occur, the underlying elements of sexting are criminal in nature. The Daily Journal article states that according to Georgia’s laws, sexually explicit photos of teens equate to child pornography. Taking and sending such pictures counts as creating and distributing child pornography. Charges may lead to a teen spending time in prison and appearing on the state’s registry of sexual offenders.

U.S. News and World Report provides some advice for parents who want to prevent their teens from sexting. It is important for parents to have open and honest conversations with their children about making wise sexual decisions. Parents who discover sexting behavior may want to talk with their teens to figure out the underlying causes of this behavior. Helping children find positive role models or professional counselors may be helpful. It is also vital for parents to provide teens with truthful information about the potential long-term consequences of this type of sexual behavior.