Nude Culture: The Dangers of Sending Intimate Photos

Sending nudes, pictures of genitals or a naked body, has become increasingly popular with the rise of social media for teens across the country. Although here at Westside, many students said they feel as though nudes have become common practice among high schoolers.

Healthy living instructor Brody Schmaderer said Westside students have been caught sending nudes before. 

“In the past year, I think we had one or two cases that we caught, but we know research shows there’s much more than that happening,” Schmaderer said. “So, it happens on a regular basis for sure, more than what we catch students doing.”

While sending nudes is not an uncommon occurrence at Westside, a part of this is due to the fact that not every juvenile understands the consequences of sending nudes.

According to the United States Department of Justice’s website, “images of child pornography are not protected under First Amendment rights and are illegal contraband under federal law.” Child pornography is defined as “any visual depiction of sexually explict contact involving a minor” in Section 2256 of Title 18, in the United States Code. 

There are severe consequences for possessing and distributing child pornography. A first-time offender convicted of producing child pornography faces a minimum of fifteen years in prison, whereas someone transporting child pornography faces a minimum of five years in prison. According to the Department of Justice’s website, an offender can be prosecuted under state and federal law.

According to an article on The Nebraska Lawyer’s website, it is unlawful to create or distibute sexual content as a minor under the Child Pornography Prevention Act. In the same article, it says that  “minors who take and distribute pictures of themselves are not guilty of the creation and distribution of child pornography,” but if one is to distribute someone else’s photos, they can be charged with a Class III felony. 

Joy Suder, a juvenile attorney, has experience working with convicted minors. Suder said the consequences of a Class III felony are severe.

“A Class III felony can be up to four years in prison and then two years of post-release supervision, which means you’re basically on parole, or have a $25,000 fine or both,” Suder said. 

Suder said sending nudes is never a smart decision because it can become dangerous for the person who is either sending or receiving these photos. 

“It’s a horrible idea,” Suder said. “It’s just as dangerous and stupid as smoking crack. One, it’s illegal. Two, it’s not safe for the person whose picture is being sent … And, normally, none of those things are being done with good intentions.”

Westside students said they have varying opinions on whether or not teenagers should send nudes. Sophomore Nyamuon Puol thinks students should have more consideration for their bodies. 

“I mean, it’s just not good,” Puol said. ”You should respect your body and you shouldn’t be sending pictures of yourself to other people.”

According to senior Ethan Shea, many people do not think sending nudes is a big deal. 

“It was a bigger thing in middle school, probably because they thought it was cool,” Shea said. “Now nobody really cares.”

The social media platform Snapchat offers a quick way to send photos back and forth with another person.  Additionally, Snapchat photos should disappear after ten seconds. According to senior Ashleigh Madsen, the way that Snapchats disappear after they are opened makes students feel more confident that their pictures won’t be shared. 

“I think it makes it way easier to [send nudes] because people aren’t thinking as much,” Madsen said. “It’s so easy to just click and send things here and there. With social media, you can just send it [and] it’s gone … Theoretically, you won’t see it again, but you can take screenshots and people forget that…” 

Sophomore Courtney Montez shares a similar view as Madsen, she says that nudes can easily spread.

“I know a couple of friends that have done it and have had their photos all over the Internet,” Montez said. “She acted like she didn’t care, but I know on the inside she was really hurt and felt alone.”

Sophomore Tai-Chi Robinson thinks a majority of high schoolers send nudes. 

“Everybody sends nudes,” Robinson said. “It’s nasty. You’re literally sending free pictures of your body to people who could use them against you.”

Schmaderer said he believes people who send nudes should be conscious of the social impact their actions might have.

“I think that we forget that your body is yours,” Schamderer said. “It is special to you. We forget that sending it out kind of takes that away from them. It’s a valuable thing. It’s meant for you. That’s lost when it’s sent out via video or text message or whatever it may be.”