Authorities search for an appropriate penalty for sexting - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Authorities search for an appropriate penalty for sexting

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MILWAUKEE (WKOW) -- In an digitally evolving world, how can parents protect their teens from the dangers online? One cyber trend in particular, sexting, has authorities on high alert especially when the kids who share them are underage.

Wisconsin has no law that address sexting, so police and prosecutors can use child pornography statutes that can create some unintended results.

Authorities say anyone caught sending a sexually explicit image of someone under 18 years of age could be charged for possession of child pornography, and they're not necessarily looking to make a 16-year-old a felon.

Some states are dialing back penalties for teen sexters; New Jersey let's first-time offenders avoid prosecution if they complete an education program. New Hampshire won't prosecute an unwitting recipient of a sext if the teen reports it. South Carolina is now considering limiting penalties to kids who forward sext messages without permission.

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