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Teens face major penalties for taking, having certain 'selfies'

It is no secret that teenage years can be incredibly difficult to navigate. Young people are testing boundaries and taking risks, trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in. With that comes the high chance of making mistakes and bad decisions. 

Technology is only making it easier to make these mistakes. Teens have smartphones, Snapchat, messenger apps and blogging platforms; they can say and share just about anything they want whenever they want. Unfortunately, they can fail to appreciate the fact that their words and images don't just disappear, and this can get them into serious trouble.

For example, young kids take selfies all the time and post them on social media sites or send them to friends. This may not seem like cause for concern, but if one of those selfies contains nudity or depicts unlawful acts, the person in the photo, the person who sent the photo and the person who kept the photo could all wind up facing charges related to child pornography.

This is true even if teens are willingly and knowingly involved in this sexting.

What this means is that your teenage son or daughter could easily wind up in legal hot water if he or she takes, sends or receives a nude picture because the image is considered child pornography. Depending on the state in which a young person is charged, he or she could face charges as a juvenile or adult and there is the risk of being labeled a sex offender.

As discussed in this CNN article, adults are quick to react to this situation. The teens are seen as both victims and perpetrators and people have very different opinions on how the legal system should respond. Should penalties be harsh to deter the behavior, or will doing so only destroy the futures of kids who simply made a bad choice?

Considering how controversial this issue is and how much is at stake for the young people involved, seeking legal counsel as soon as possible can be crucial. While you may be disappointed in your child, you should try and remember that teens make mistakes and shouldn't have to pay the price for youthful indiscretions for the rest of their lives. Protecting them and their future can be the best way to help them learn a valuable life lesson.

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