Sexting is a recent phenomenon, fueled by widespread availability of affordable mobile phones with picture-taking and sending capabilities.
Although just over two-thirds of those teens meant those images for their boyfriend or girlfriend, 25 percent of teen girls and 33 percent of teen boys admit they have had sext messages meant for someone else shared with them.
By being aware of the relevant law and having policies in place to deal with sexting, prosecutors and law enforcement, school districts, parents, and teenagers themselves can curb sexting behavior while avoiding liability.
The crime of sexting Sexting can have serious social and emotional consequences for teens and adults alike - especially where a picture is taken without knowledge, forwarded without consent, or used to bully and harass.
School districts should work with local law enforcement in establishing district policies and procedures for investigating allegations of sexting.
They should discuss whether and how, if at all, law enforcement will be involved in sexting issues.
Further, the embarrassment of uncontrolled dissemination of personal and private pictures can significantly disrupt the teen's life.
For example, after hundreds of people were sent sext messages a teen had sent only to her boyfriend, she was cruelly harassed through My Space and Facebook, leading her to hang herself.
Enacting this bill or one like it into law would be a huge step in the right direction. Cell phones have become ubiquitous among students, but the law has been slow to catch up.
Illinois legislators should continue to examine incidents of sexting and how the current law applies to them.
Adults risk embarrassment if their sext message is misdirected.
But when a teenager (meaning a minor between 13 and 17) creates, sends, or receives a sext message in Illinois, he or she may have committed the criminal offense of child pornog raphy.
has sent sexually suggestive, nude or semi-nude "sext" messages by phone or otherwise.