Sexting can often have legal implications for high school students. Photo Will Hunter / Dalby Herald
Sexting can often have legal implications for high school students. Photo Will Hunter / Dalby Herald Will Hunter

How young is too young to send a sexy text or selfie?

THOUSANDS of and teenagers in NSW including the Clarence Valley are at risk of a criminal record - which can seriously impact their life forever - for sharing nude photos, even if the subject agrees, a lawyer with Legal Aid NSW has said.

Julianne Elliott, who is a specialist in children's legal matters, is concerned that many young people don't realise that sexy photos or texts are treated by the law as child pornography.

"It is a little known fact that 16-year-olds can legally have sex, but if they take nude photos of it and share them with one another, they could face serious criminal charges," she said.

"While it is never ok to share a sexy photo without someone's consent or to use it to bully someone, it is also a crime to take, share or possess sexy images of anyone under 18, even yourself or with consent."

Legal Aid NSW runs the Youth Hotline (1800 10 18 10) and last year gave advice on issues including sexting and cyberbullying to children and young people across NSW.

To help inform parents, youth workers and others about the law, Legal Aid NSW is holding a webinar on sexting and cyberbullying on May 25, from 11-11.30am. The webinar discusses sexting, online bullying and how to make sure children and young people do not get them trouble when you're on your phone or the internet.

"Our webinars allow people to get useful information about important legal issues in half an hour without leaving home. This is particularly useful for people in rural and regional NSW, or those with carers' responsibilities or mobility issues," she said.

"We also run workshops at schools and youth centres, and in the past 12 months have talked to over 7,500 children and young people about these issues.

The half hour webinar is run in a Q&A style format by a facilitator, and allow time for audience questions at the end.   Participation requires a computer or smartphone, an internet connection, and a speaker or headset.

Participants can register from the Legal Aid website (www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au) or directly via http://bit.ly/23MkN8p


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