02:35 GMT +322 November 2019
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    When 'Sexting' on Social Media Goes Seriously Wrong

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    A young British boy, who sent his girlfriend a picture of himself naked on instant social media sharing site Snapchat, has ended up with a criminal record.

    The 14 year old boy, who can't be named, was sitting in his bedroom one evening when he decided to send a naked selfie to a girl in his school class using Snapchat — probably because photos, videos or text messages are only available to view on the application for up to ten seconds.

    But it turns out a split second "snap" can last for ten years.

    In this instance, the girl saved the image and shared it with others bringing the case to light and the police became involved. The teenager was never arrested or charged, nevertheless it has been recorded as a crime of "making and distributing indecent images of a child".

    His name has been placed on a police database for a minimum of ten years, which means any potential employer running an advanced Criminal Records Bureau check against his name will see it before them, potentially ruining his career prospects.

    The teenager admitted to British media that he should never have done it.

    "It's just annoying, really, something that I did when I was 14 could reflect badly in future."

    'Something Must Be Done' 

    The incident, reported by Ars Technica UK "highlights the UK society's continuing moral panic about young people exploring their sexuality in various ways, and how ill-thought-out laws brought in because 'something must be done' can end up harming the very people they are supposed to protect."

    It also suggests the authorities are struggling to keep up with social media. Anne Longfield, the children's commissioner for England told The Guardian that: "Helping children to understand the consequences of inappropriate images of both themselves as senders and receivers is vital.

    "Parents and schools have a very important role in explaining the consequences of sexting and sending illicit images of themselves or other young people."

    Possessing or distributing indecent images of a person under 18 is illegal. If the randy teenager had been an adult, then the sharing of the image by others would have been classed as revenge porn — and he would be seen as the victim.

    So when it comes to 'something' being done, it seems laws in England need as much scrutiny as social media trends.

    Related:

    US Secret Service Agent Under Investigation for Sexting
    Social Media App Providers Deleting Data to Outwit State Surveillance
    British Banker Bored With Meeting Quits in Epic Fall Over Snapchat Postings
    Tags:
    phone, sexting, image, photo, social media, database, police, Europe, United Kingdom
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