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Using the internet or your mobile to take, send or even receive a ‘sexy text’ or a ‘sexy pic’ of yourself is known as ‘sexting’.
In this fact sheet, we’re talking about how sexting can get young people into trouble with the law.
It is a crime if you make, send out, or have an ‘offensive’ picture of someone under the age of 18 (including yourself) who is: The law calls these images ‘child abuse material’, or more commonly, child pornography.
The law says that while you are under 18, you aren’t allowed to consent (say yes) to sexting – even though you are able to legally start having sex at 16 years of age.
It is a crime to take a sexual, nude or partly nude picture or video of anyone - regardless of their age - without their permission.
The reason the laws on sexting are so confusing is that they were made to protect children from adult offenders, and didn’t consider that teenagers might record their own sexual activity.
As a result, even if the young person in the image says it’s okay to be filmed or photographed, it’s still a crime.
New South Wales child pornography laws only apply to images of young people under the age of 16, but the Commonwealth laws are broader.
These laws even apply to images of young people who look like they are under the age of 18.