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What do young people think about the laws regarding sexting?

Categories: Canada, Community

in-220-sexting-iStock_000022.jpg'Sexting' is said to be extremely common among teens and young people. 

But if you are under 18 years old and you send someone -- even your romantic partner -- a photo of yourself naked or semi-naked, that could be considered child pornography and a criminal offence. 

While it's rare for young people to face criminal charges in the sharing of such images, it has happened when consent from one of the person(s) portrayed was not given. It may still be considered child pornography for 16- and 17-year-olds, even though they are over the age of consent, because the law applies the child porn label if someone is under 18. 

Although in Canada there is currently an exception regarding private consensual photos known as the intimate photo exception.

A report from Australia regarding young people and sexting quotes a boy from that age group: 

"Why can you see it in your own eyes but not send it in a photo - if you're still of the age of consent - because it's not like you're looking at other people or something. It's between two consenting parties," he said at a focus group for the study. 

In Canada, a federal-provincial committee set up in response to the Rehtaeh Parsons case in Nova Scotia has recommended "that a new criminal offence addressing the non-consensual distribution of intimate images be created." 

The Australian report says "few discussions on sexting adequately engage with young people's concerns around this practice." 

The authors add, "It is rare for young people's opinions to be voiced in media coverage." Since the definitions and policies have been put in place without the input of those involved - youth -- we want to ask young people for their views. 

If you are a young person, specifically between the ages of 16 and 18, we'd like to hear from you. 

Do you think sharing images consensually in your age group should be considered child porn and against the law? 

What do you think about the policies in place and being proposed? Aside from the "non-consensual distribution of images," and revenge porn, do you think that the law should also apply to minors sending sexually explicit messages in general? 

What should happen when intimate images are circulated in a non-consensual way

When it comes to sexting are young women and young men treated differently? 

Email us your views on the subject at yournews@cbc.ca

Tags: Callout, community, law, Technology

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