Recent sexting (the sending of naked or partially clothed photos of an individual to others via mobile phones) cases in the USA have led to concern about whether such online behaviour should be classified as a criminial offence or simply a 'misdemeanour'.
Such cases have resulted in police arrests of several adolescents and criminal charges of child pornography.
Sending or distributing explicit images of child under 18 is illegal in many countries.
Parents are being encouraged to warn their children about the possible consequences of sexting (for both the sender and receiver).
A recent National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancies survey of more than 1000 teenagers in the USA, found that one-fifth of 13-19 year olds had actually sent compromising images of themselves via text or online. A third of boys and a quarter of girls reported that they had had nude or semi nude images, originally meant to be private, shared with them.
Speaking to the BBC, WiredSafety founder, Parry Aftab stated, "It is dangerous behaviour that we don't want children to be encouraged to do.....Not only could these images end up in the hands of paedophile groups and place kids at higher risk of being targeted, but they could also be subject to extortion by those who have ended up with the images".