As parents, if we hand them a phone, we also need to download apps that can keep them safe when we can’t supervise their online activity.

These days, the new parenting trend is to give your child a smartphone when they begin going to school. 

In fact, Vouchercloud.net did a survey and found that the average age kids are receiving cell phones is age six, with security being the number one reason parents give their child a phone.

However, one of the challenges in giving our children mobile phones at an earlier age is that activities they may engage in can be driven by peer pressure.

Kids Engage in Sexting as Young as Seven

One of the activities kids are engaging in a at younger age is sexting.  Kids as young as seven are being caught by teachers sexting in school, according to a recent study. This statement seems inconceivable, but let’s face it, we can’t be with our children 24/7. As parents, if we hand them a phone, we also need to download apps that can keep them safe when we can’t supervise their online activity. One app every parent should consider downloading is Detoured, The Anti-Sexting App.

What is Detoured, The Anti-Sexting App                   

While the Detoured app can’t stop your child from taking a sexting image, it can quarantine the image, so it can’t be sent to anyone. The Detoured app can detect if an image contains nudity or pornography no matter how the image was obtained, which could include:

  • Taken with a smartphone’s camera
  • Downloaded from the internet
  • Saved from a message

If nudity or pornography is detected by Detoured’s new QuickScan image analyzing technology, the image is immediately quarantined within the Detoured app and locked down, and the parent is notified by e-mail.

The only way to access the quarantined images on the child’s phone is by password, which the parent will create during the app’s installation process. Once notified, the parents can decide if the image should be deleted and what type of age-appropriate discussion they should have with their child about what’s appropriate to share and general rules for phone use. 

More than 40% of teens have engaged in sexting and 61% who send sexts aren’t aware that it could lead to criminal prosecution. - Mike Burns, co-founder and CEO of Zift

The most important job in the world is being a parent and keeping our kids safe, even if that means keeping our kids safe from themselves. Sexting in this digital age means that images can too easily be shared by a wider group causing embarrassment, humiliation and emotional turmoil that can haunt your child for years to come.

Being alerted of a potentially inappropriate image will no doubt require an awkward conversation between parent and child. If you need a few tips on how to approach this conversation read our blog: How to Talk to Your Kids About Sexting.

However, that conversation is significantly less awkward than one with authorities that could mean school suspensions, police involvement and in some states, criminal charges, and could even negatively impact future academic and career opportunities. 

More information about the Detoured can be found at www.detouredapp.com

 

What Parents Need to Know About Sexting

Most kids and parents are unaware that when an image is shared of a minor in a sexually explicit photograph, it may violate the child pornography laws of your state and punishment can include felony penalties, as well as being registered as a sex offender.

Personally, I was unaware of this fact, until our home received a call from a child pornography task force detective. My step-son posted an image of a minor that he had received from a friend of a friend; he did not even know the person in the image. 

I was completely unaware of the legal consequences of sexting as was my step-son and so are most families.

“More than 40% of teens have engaged in sexting and 61% who send sexts aren’t aware that it could lead to criminal prosecution,” said Mike Burns, co-founder and CEO of Zift. “Parents are waking up to the fact that they need to do all they can to prevent their children from inadvertently or purposefully sending nude or pornographic images, so they cannot be accused of online harassment or breaking the law.”

It’s important for parents to understand the sexting laws of their state, so take a look at the list below of various state laws.

SEXTING LAWS BY STATE

StateDescription
AlabamaAlabama has no specific laws for teen sexting. Anyone found sending or receiving inappropriate images of a minor—including images of them or someone else—could be prosecuted under the state’s current child pornography, obscenity or material harmful to minor’s laws.
AlaskaAnyone regardless of age can be prosecuted if caught promoting, distributing or possessing sexually explicit photos of minors under the states current child pornography laws. Legislature was recently proposed to lighten punishment for offenders that are at least 16 years of age and engaged in sexting. In this legislation, minors under the age of 16 will not be prosecuted if found to be distributing sexually explicit images of themselves.
ArizonaArizona has a sexting law that applies only to minors. If a minor engages with another minor in sexting could be found guilty of a petty offense of class 3 misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances. Adults age 18 and older found sexting with a minor will be charged under Arizona’s child pornography laws.
ArkansasArkansas has no current sexting laws, but prosecutes anyone who creates, distributes or possesses sexually explicit images of a minor under the current child pornography laws with potential to serve jail time.
CaliforniaCalifornia currently charges anyone who creates, distributes or possesses sexually explicit images of a minor under child pornography laws. A bill was recently proposed to reduce the punishment of any first time sexting offenders who are minors, with the punishment being community service and mandatory counseling.
ColoradoBeginning in 2018, teens found sexting will receive punishments that range from taking courses that educate them about the consequences of sexting to a misdemeanor count. Some cases will result in a sexual exploitation charge.
ConnecticutMinors caught sexting will be charged with a misdemeanor, as of November 1, 2010. These individuals could face up to one year in prison in addition to a fine of $2,000.
DelawareRegardless of age, Delaware can prosecute anyone who creates, distributes or possesses sexually explicit images of a minor under current child pornography laws.
FloridaFor the first offense, any minor caught sending, possessing or creating nude images of minors can receive a non-criminal violation, subject to a $60 fine or 8 hours of community service in addition to training or instructional classes about the dangers of sexting.
GeorgiaAnyone who creates, distributes or possesses sexually explicit images of a minor can be charged with misdemeanor or felony under Georgia’s current child pornography laws. If convicted of a felony, they could face up to 20 years in prison.
HawaiiAnyone creating, distributing or possessing inappropriate images of a minor engaged in a sexually explicit act will be charged under child pornography laws. Legislature was recently proposed to make sexting between minors a misdemeanor and a felony if one of the people caught is an adult.
IdahoLike other states with no sexting laws, those found creating, distributing or possessing inappropriate images of a minor engaged in a sexually explicit act will be charged under child pornography laws with potential to serve up to 30 years in jail.
IllinoisIn 2010, Illinois passed a law that makes sexting between minors illegal, including if two minors sexting or a minor distributing sexually explicit images of another minor. They will be charged with a misdemeanor and ordered to receive court supervision, counseling or community service.
IndianaRegardless of age, anyone found sending or receiving sexually explicit photos of a minor can be prosecuted in Indiana. Recently proposed legislation would lighten the sentence provided for minors and teens engaged in sexting if the images were created voluntarily, the two individuals are separated by four years or less, or they are in a relationship.
IowaWhile Iowa has no specific sexting laws, anyone found to be promoting, distributing or possessing images of minors engaged in explicit sexual acts can be prosecuted in current child pornography laws.
KansasAnyone who creates, distributes or possesses images of a minor engaged in a sexually explicit act will be charged under current child pornography laws with potential jail time to be served. There are no specific laws for sexting.
KentuckyWith no specific sexting laws, anyone in Kentucky who creates, distributes or possesses images of a minor engaged in a sexually explicit act may be prosecuted under child pornography laws with possible jail time.
LouisianaIf a minor—anyone under the age of 17 in this state—is found to distribute an indecent photo of him or herself to another minor may have to undergo counseling or other punishments, but will not receive jail time. If a minor distributes an inappropriate picture of another minor may be punished with up to 10 years in jail and a $250 fine. Stricter penalties are in place for adults, including jail time.
MaineAnyone, regardless of age, found to be creating, distributing or possessing images of a minor engaged in sexually explicit acts would be prosecuted under child pornography laws with possible jail time. There are currently no sexting-specific laws in Maine.
MarylandBoth minors and adults found to be creating, distributing or possessing images of a minor engaged in sexually explicit acts would be prosecuted under child pornography laws.
MassachusettsWhile the state did try to pass strict sexting laws, but they were overturned by a federal judge, citing that they were too broad. Adults and minors will currently be prosecuted under child pornography laws is found to be creating, distributing or possessing images of a minor engaged in sexually explicit acts.
MichiganWithout any specific sexting laws or statutes, anyone who is creating, distributing or possessing images of a minor engaged in sexually explicit acts would be prosecuted under child pornography laws and likely face jail time.
MinnesotaAdults or minors in Minnesota who create, distribute or possess images of a minor engaged in sexually explicit acts can be prosecuted under child pornography laws. If convicted they will likely serve jail time. There are no specific sexting laws at the time.
MississippiWith no sexting laws, anyone who creates, distributes or possesses images of a minor engaged in sexually explicit acts can be prosecuted under child pornography laws with potential jail time.
MissouriIf a minor is caught possessing or distributing sexually explicit images of a minor—including photos of themselves—will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor on their first offense, with up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
MontanaIf anyone is found possessing or distributing sexually explicit images of a minor, including minors, will be prosecuted under child pornography laws, possibly with 100 years to life in prison.
NebraskaIn 2009, a law was passed making it a crime to send sexually explicit photos of a minor via text message. Offenders under the age of 18 will not be prosecuted for receiving such images of a minor 15 years of age or older if the image was taken voluntarily and the recipient doesn’t distribute the image to anyone else.
NevadaNevada’s law, passed in 2011, applies only to minors who are caught sexting, with lesser punishment than if charged under child pornography laws.
New HampshireAnyone who possesses a sexually explicit image of a minor can be charged with possession of child pornography. Minors found guilty are subject to juvenile delinquency charges; adults will be subject to criminal proceedings.
New JerseyThe first time a minor is caught sexting, they will not be prosecuted under current child pornography laws. Under this new law, if caught sending sexually explicit images via cell phone, minors will be required to attend a state-sponsored educational program about the dangers of sending these images.
New MexicoIn New Mexico, anyone, regardless of age who creates, distributes or possesses images of a minor engaged in sexually explicit act will be prosecuted under child pornography laws, with the possibility of serving up to 9 years in prison.
New YorkAdults and minors who create, distribute or possess images of a minor engaged in sexually explicit act would be prosecuted under child pornography laws. Proposed legislation would allow first-time offenders to avoid jail time, and unlike almost every other state, would not be required to register as a sex offender.
North CarolinaWith no specific sexting laws, adults and minors caught sending, receiving or taking images of a minor engaged in sexually explicit acts can be prosecuted under child pornography laws, with possible jail time.
North DakotaThe punishment for those caught sexting are subject to being charged with a misdemeanor; before this law, anyone found guilty would have been charged under child pornography laws.
OhioA minor found to be creating, distributing or possessing sexually explicit images of another minor could be prosecuted under child pornography laws. Proposed legislation would reduce the severity for minors to a misdemeanor and not require them to register as a sex offender.
OklahomaAnyone found to be creating, distributing or possessing sexually explicit images of a minor could be prosecuted under child pornography laws and likely receive jail time. Proposed legislation would make the charge a misdemeanor.
OregonAdults and minors who are creating, distributing or possessing sexually explicit images of a minor could be prosecuted under child pornography laws. Legislation was recently proposed to reduce the penalties for minors caught sexting.
PennsylvaniaMinors are currently prosecuted under child pornography laws for sexting and could be subject to jail time. Proposed legislation would reduce this to a second-degree misdemeanor, and for first-time offenders, the charge would not go onto their permanent record. They would be required to forfeit their electronic devices.
Rhode IslandSexting between minors is illegal in Rhode Island, and those found guilty will be charged in State Family Court. Minors who distribute sexually explicit images of a minor other than themselves can still be charged under child pornography laws.
South CarolinaAdults and minors who create, distribute or possess sexually explicit images of a minor will be charged under the state’s child pornography laws. Proposed legislation would reduce this to a misdemeanor for minors between the age of 12 and 17.
South DakotaAnyone creating, distributing or possessing sexually explicit images of a minor will be charged under child pornography laws. A recently proposed billed that would not require minors to register as a sex offender was not passed into law.
TennesseeAnyone who creates, distributes or possesses sexually explicit images of a minor will be charged under child pornography laws.
TexasA minor caught sexting can be charged with a misdemeanor as of 2011. If caught, they will be required to take a state-sponsored sexting class with one of their parents, and the conviction can be expunged after turning 18.
UtahIn 2009, law was passed that makes sexting between minors a misdemeanor rather than a felony and the minor offender will not have to register as a sex offender.
VermontMinors found to be sending explicit images of themselves will be declared delinquent in family court. For a first offense, the minor will be sent to a diversion program and will not have to register as a sex offender. The conviction can be expunged after turning 18.
VirginiaWhile anyone caught creating, distributing or possessing sexually explicit images of a minor will be charged under child pornography laws, in Virginia, each act is considered a separate offense, resulting in multiple charges.
WashingtonAnyone caught creating, distributing or possessing sexually explicit images of a minor will be charged under the state’s child pornography laws, facing possible jail time.
West VirginiaAdults and minors who create, distribute or possess sexually explicit images of a minor will be charged under the state’s child pornography laws. If convicted, they could serve jail time.
WisconsinAny one who creates, distributes or possesses sexually explicit images of a minor will be charged under the state’s child pornography laws, with possible jail time.
WyomingAny person who creates, distributes or possesses sexually explicit images of a minor will be charged under the state’s child pornography laws.

About Kristin MacLaughlin

Mom of three, fosters rescued dogs, and is helping to drive the conversation about digital parenting as VP of Consumer Marketing for Zift.

Log In or Sign Up to leave a comment!

    Comments: 0

Don’t Miss Out

Join the Zift community and get all the latest news and our exclusive content delivered straight to your email.