Law on underage dating
Because the state does not have a sexting specific law, the conduct is typically prosecuted under laws prohibiting child pornography and obscenity.In September 2015, two teenagers in Fayetteville, North Carolina were each charged with felony child pornography for sending naked selfies to each other when they were both age 16.A different study by researchers at Drexel University found that 28 percent of college students reported sexting as minors.Some States Already Have Separate Teen Sexting Laws The emergence of teen sexting has caused many states to consider whether laws primarily intended to protect children from adult sexual predators should be used to prosecute the minors themselves.
You should find out the statutory rape laws for your area, and proceed with caution.
Because the child pornography statutes define a “minor” as a person under 18, 16- and 17-year-olds can simultaneously be considered victim and perpetrator.
In North Carolina, at age 16, teens can legally consent to engage in sexual intercourse but if they exchange sexually explicit photos, they commit a felony.
Reviewing how other states have responded might be a good place to start.
The behavior is not only inappropriate, but it also exposes teens to potential embarrassment, humiliation, and further victimization if the photos are disclosed to third parties without their consent.