Aussie report hits out at sexting rules

Last updated 15:10 12/04/2013

Relevant offers

Digital Living

Reddit boss admits to editing users' posts amid pro-Trump troll attacks My experience with UFB How social media has changed the way we eat Explained: HDR photography Battery breakthrough could let phones charge in seconds and last for a week UK law allows govt to track users' internet use It's undeniable: mobile phones are killing us Modern Etiquette: When and how should I respond with good manners to Facebook postings? US wants phone makers to lock out apps for drivers Internet is a scarier place for women than for men, report finds

Child pornography laws that mean teens could be charged for using mobile phones to share revealing images of themselves are "excessive and hyped" and need amending, a report says.

A study led by the University of NSW has found that young people are surprised by the legal penalties for sexting, and don't consider all naked or semi-naked pictures as inherently shameful.

The study on "sexting" focused on 16 to 17-year-olds who are over the age of sexual consent but could face charges for texting photos or video considered to be child pornography by law.

Dr Kath Albury, from UNSW's Journalism and Media Research Centre, says the study found laws need to be updated to take into account the popularity of sexting among young people.

Dr Albury says all Australian jurisdictions need clear guidelines stating child pornography laws do not apply to consensual images shared between young people.

"The child pornography laws are so broad that potentially even a photograph of an under 18-year-old in their bikini could be framed as child pornography," Dr Albury told AAP on Friday.

She said it's presumed the laws apply to people over 18 who are paedophiles looking at child porn images.

Dr Albury said the laws were not designed to apply to peers consensually sharing images of each other.

She said confusion around current laws was deterring some young people from reporting threatening or unethical behaviour.

"They are afraid they will be blamed, or even charged, when they confess to taking, or sending a naked picture," she said.

The study found young people were offended by the adult tendency to bundle all naked or partially naked user-generated pictures into the category of sexting.

It also found adults wanted clearer legal guidelines on sexting and help in understanding and responding to young people's use of digital technologies in forming friendships and relationships.

Ad Feedback

- AAP

Comments

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content