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Risking It All: The Dangers of Sexting

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There are many distinct ramifications of engaging in sexting as someone under the age of 18 and the details of which are often misunderstood or either widely unknown. The biggest one being the legal punishments that go along with it and its ambiguity. Sexting is the topic for the essay as there is a huge importance to understand how laws work and what consequences can appear.

Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages, images, or videos through electronic means, such as text messages or social media. While sexting can be consensual and consensual between adults, it can also be non-consensual and can have serious legal and personal consequences, especially for youth age under 18.  

This is supported by the fact that even multiple different credible sources add to this uncertainty. For example, if you do a quick google search for “Australian law regarding child pornography” the answers on whether or not it is illegal to send illicit pictures to a 16-year-old are widely different depending on the site you click on. The first link that comes up is a website for information on some of the best lawyers in the country, Nyman Gibson Miralis, which you most likely would assume has some of the best legal advice you can find states

“In Australia, child abuse material is classified as the sexualised depiction of persons under 16”. Which is completely different to many other sources such as the western Australian government, which they state that: “Under the Australian law it is illegal to use your phone or internet to take, keep, look at, send, or ask someone to send sexual images or videos of anyone who is under 18 years of age (or anyone who looks under the age of 18).”

The importance of the public understanding or being able to gather information of the current laws and the consequences of breaking those laws is paramount and the distinct ambiguity in regards to sexting is no exception. To actually gather the correct information on this topic I had to explicitly find the criminal code on the matter, something none of these credible sites referenced in which it stated that apart from Tasmania and Northern territory it is illegal to send illicit photos to anyone under the age of 16. The punishment for these crimes can vary dramatically but cases can reach upwards of 5 years in jail and in nearly every case imaginable the perpetrator gets registered on the sex offenders registry. This can have catastrophic impacts on someone’s life, either this be general reputation that it causes, its impact on finding a job, or the complete nullification of you being able to apply for certain jobs that involve kids.

In conclusion, the uncertainty of what the laws and regulations are have a massive impact and should not be taken lightly. This alongside the fact that the punishments can be incredibly severe means that the information being gathered should be as easy and clear cut as possible. This is certainly not the case.


  • Australian Institute of Criminology. (2019). Child pornography offences: Production. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Sep. 2019].
  • (2019). Sexting | Get the Facts. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Sep. 2019].
  • Nyman Gibson Miralis Criminal Defence Lawyers. (2019). Child Pornography Laws in Australia. Criminal Defence Lawyers: Sydney / Parramatta | NGM Lawyers. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Sep. 2019].

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Risking it All: the Dangers of Sexting. (2023, February 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 26, 2023, from
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Risking it All: the Dangers of Sexting. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 Mar. 2023].
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