Talking over the phone is an archaic form of communication. Texting is even becoming obsolete. Today, kids prefer to communicate through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Kik and Skype.  Here,  photos and videos are shared in real time enabling them to meet new friends and even form romantic relationships without ever meeting in person. Inevitably, pictures involving nudity and videos involving sexual acts are shared way too easily and too frequently amongst the kids. This is called “Sexting” and is governed by Florida Statute §847.0141.
Sexting is not illegal when it is done between two consenting adults, however, the Florida Legislature has made it illegal for two minors (under 18 years of age) to text each other photographs or videos of any person depicting nudity that is harmful to minors. “Harmful to minors” means images or video that is patently offensive to society, appeals to prurient interests and has no artistic or literary value. The sext sender and sext recipient are guilty unless the recipient takes reasonable steps to report the sext, does not solicit the sext and does not transmit the sext to a third party. Punishment involves a civil citation for the first offense, first degree misdemeanor for the second offense and third degree misdemeanor for the third offense.  Albeit the criminal punishment is nothing to shrug off, the social repercussions and negative consequences when applying to colleges or jobs can be very damaging to a child’s future.
With the rise of social media ones the rise of cyber crimes, such as sexting. Parents, teachers and leaders of our community are the only ones that can help our kids through education. If all else fails, just take away the phone and help our kids smell the roses again

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