Juvenile Sex Offender and Sexting 1. Compare and contrast the theories behind juvenile sex offending. 2. Discuss the growing problem of sexting and the laws regarding this form of pornography. NOTE

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Juvenile Sex Offender and Sexting

1.  Compare and contrast the theories behind juvenile sex offending.

2.   Discuss the growing problem of sexting and the laws regarding this form of pornography.

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NOTES:

Theories Behind Juvenile Sex Offending

Key theories that attempt to explain juvenile sex offending include:

* Social Learning Theory

*Comorbid Mental Disorders

*Attachment Theory

*Dysfunctional Theory

*Cycle of Offender/Violence Theory

*Victim to Victimizer Theory

*Social Control Theory

Sexting

Much of the research on sexual images of children has focused on the commercial sexual exploitation of children by adults.  However, in the last decade, adolescents have begun creating “self-produced pornography,” taking photos of themselves and texting them to friends or posting them online which is now referred to as sexting.  Sexting is not exclusive to adolescents but is prevalent among adolescents and young adults.  Even though sexting refers to sending a peer a sexual image, this may lead to a widespread distribution of the image without the knowledge of the subject of the photo and result in emotional trauma to the victim.

In a study conducted by Barrense-Dias (2021) it was found that 7% of the 3,000 study participants (age 13-14) have sent sexual images of themselves to someone.

Morelli et al. (2021) surveyed young adults (average age 20) in 11 countries to include the United States, China, Italy, and Russia. A total of 6,093 individuals participated in the study and it was found that 39.7% had participated in sexting at least one time. Sexting often leads to relentless bullying and sometimes are the underlying cause of young adult suicide.

Sexting and the Law

Possession of sexually explicit material depicting a minor and distribution of such images is a crime as is actually taking the photograph (Pirius, 2022). This means that sexting already involves 3 felony crimes once the sexual images are captured by teenagers whether all parties were willing participants or not.  There are many problems that have the potential to cause future distress to those involved in sexting:

Civil liability for parents – because most parents own the cellphone accounts where sexting occurs, lawyers can hold parents liable monetarily for the teenager’s actions if the photographs get distributed.

Exposure to Sexual Predators – naked photographs could eventually fall into the hands of sexual predators if distributed through social media over the internet.  Often these predators will attempt to contact the individual in the photograph.

Cyberbullying – pictures sent during sexting are often meant to be private and if end up being distributed through social networks or texted to other teenagers, result in embarrassment and ridicule for the subject of the picture.

College Admissions – with the competition to choose who is admitted into top colleges today, many human resources departments are searching applicant’s social media history for clues to an individual’s behavior.  Lapses of judgement that occur when an individual decides to engage in sexting could result in rejection of a college application or a job application as well.

Sextortion – One inappropriate picture may lead to the person receiving the photograph to engage in extortion.  The individual may demand sexual favors or more sexually explicit photographs be sent in return for not distributing the original photograph to peers, family, or the school system.

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