A Victimless Sex Crime: The Case for Decriminalizing Consensual Teen Sexting

As teenagers’ access to cellular phones and the internet has increased over the past two decades, so has their ability to harm themselves and others through misuse of new technology. One risky behavior that has become common among teenagers is “sexting”–the digital sharing of sexually suggestive images. To combat the dangers of teen sexting, many states have criminalized the act. Criminalization does not resolve the issue of teen sexting, however, and in many cases it may cause additional harm. This Note reviews existing state laws related to teen sexting, and critiques these laws on constitutional and policy grounds. It then proposes a model statute to decriminalize consensual teen sexting.