– By Arif Hussain, PLE Team Member (with legal info by UofT law student Leora Jackson)

“Sexting” – combining text + sex – has become a new cultural product in modern society.  Sexting can involve sending sexually related text messages or images between cell phones.

Even though sexting can seem fun and exciting, and can come out of genuine good feelings and intentions, there can be negative consequences to sexting.  Sometimes, teens will share a picture with another person because they trust them.  However, sometimes those pictures get shared with third parties without the owner’s permission.  That can be embarrassing for the person who sent the picture, and it might be hard to take action or to tell someone else what has happened.  This is why one of the most important things to remember about using digital media is that once something has been emailed, messaged, or posted to someone else, it is almost impossible to maintain control over it, even if you later remove the posting or ask the recipient to delete their copy.

This Toronto Star article talks about some cases related to sexting and provides the comments of legal academics in Canada. 

In Canada, there  are important legal issues involved around sexting, including child pornography and privacy.  This information sheet has information about sexting in Canada, things to consider when you are thinking about sending sexual texts and images, and statistics about the frequency of sexting among Canadian teens and how likely they are to forward or share sexually explict messages that they have received from friends.

JFCY is in the process of creating a series of legal info publications around sexting and other issues related to cyberbullying and ‘tech-bullying’.  Stay tuned to this blog in the coming months for more legal info on these issues.

Arif Hussain is a student at U of T Scarborough.  He’s also an active member of the PLE Team, and wrote the script for our Civil Recovery Demands YouTube video