Beware of the Sext

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Photos you thought no one else would see could end up on other peoples' phones and potentially racy Web sites. It's embarrassing and humiliating, for one. A momentary lapse in judgment can taint years of a reputation you've worked to build.

The emotional dangers of sexting are even more pronounced with teens, who may have fragile self-esteem to begin with and may contemplate suicide. Unfortunately, teen girls have killed themselves in the wake of texting scandals on more than one occasion.

Legal Dangers of Sexting

Sexting also can have legal ramifications for adults and teens alike. In the case of infidelity, it can break up a marriage and, in especially contentious divorces, phone records dating as far back as a month can be pulled up, even when text messages have been deleted.

For moms out there, the biggest legal issues right now involve adults soliciting and sexting teens, which in many cases, is considered criminal behavior.

Legislation has cropped up in more than 20 states that can actually result in child pornography charges for teens who send text messages, and sometimes, their recipients. That's because any nude or semi-nude photos of minors under the age of 18 constitute child pornography. It's a serious punishment for 13-and14-year olds that engage in sexting. Just how do parents protect their kids from this behavior and its consequences?