In recent years, sexting (sending sexually explicit messages or images) has become a popular craze for many teenagers and adults all over the world. For most, it is just a bit of harmless fun between two people that goes no further. However, one young boy has learned the hard way that this isn’t always the case.

After a 14 year old boy took a naked image of himself on Snapchat (an app which sends images or videos for up to 10 seconds before deleting them) and had it circulated around his school by the girl he sent it to, the police have decided to report his behaviour as a crime. Despite not being charged or arrested for sending the image, his details could be stored for up to 10 years and the incident could potentially even be disclosed to any future employers. There is a chance that it could be flagged up if he ever had to take a DBS check, making it difficult to become employed in certain areas, such as working with vulnerable people, the elderly, or children.

Is this fair? Many people would argue that this is simply a case of naivety, and although it may have been a mistake to send the image, it surely shouldn’t be enough to affect his future life choices in the long term. Rather than storing these details, this is an incident that could have been dealt with privately and resolved with only minor repercussions to prevent it from happening again.

Others have some concern about the decision of the girl involved to send on the image, suggesting that this is a form of revenge pornography. This is when a person publicises explicit photos that were not intended to be sent to anyone other than the original receiver – this is now punishable by law. So, if the young boy is punished for sending the picture, then shouldn’t the girl also be punished for passing it on to others? What do you think?