Policing Youth Sexting in Ireland

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Because child pornography laws in Ireland do not distinguish consensual teenage sexting from child pornography, when Irish teenagers engage in sexting behaviour they potentially expose both the sender and receiver of youth sexting to the risk of criminal prosecution and classification as a sex offender. This article will consider the extent to which Irish young people consensually create and share sexual imagery and will draw upon international research to examine young people’s motivations for engaging in this behaviour. In light of this I will consider the state of current legal responses to the practice of consensual sexting amongst teenagers and recommend a reconsideration of the criminal law to acknowledge that for young people consensual sexting may represent self-fulfilment, self-actualization, sexual exploration and private mutual enjoyment. The article will argue that the focus of the law should be on challenging coercive and unauthorised production and distribution of sexual images of children while also acknowledging young people’s agency in sexual matters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66
Number of pages68
JournalIrish Journal of Family Law
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2019


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