Child pornography statutes were enacted to target and prohibit adult exploitation of children. However, these laws came before the advent of smart phones, social media, and before sexting. Nowadays, teens are taking sexually explicit pictures of themselves and sending them to other teens. The problem? Their auto-pornography falls into the definition of child pornography and teens can and are being prosecuted for the creation, possession, and distribution, leading to felony convictions and sex-offender registration. In response to this, many states have enacted specific legislation to address teenage sexting and remove it from falling under the child pornography umbrella. In 2016, Idaho passed such a statute: Idaho Code 18-1507A. While this statute succeeds in separating teen sexting from child pornography, it results in overcriminalization and raises serious potential constitutional and policy issues.
Teenage Sexting Statutes: A Critical Examination of Idaho Code 18-1507a and an Argument Against the Criminalization of Consensually Shared Sexts,
Idaho L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uidaho.edu/idaho-law-review/vol54/iss3/4