Forensic Implications: Adolescent Sexting
Stephen Bates Billick
Published online: 16 October 2013
Ó Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013
Abstract Adolescence is marked by establishing a sense of identity, core values, a sense
of one’s relationship to the outside world and heightened peer relationships. In addition,
there is also risk taking, impulsivity, self exploration and dramatic increase in sexuality.
The dramatic increase in the use of cell phones and the Internet has additional social
implications of sexting and cyberbullying. Sexting refers to the practice of sending sex-
ually explicit material including language or images to another person’s cell phone.
Cyberbullying refers to the use of this technology to socially exclude, threaten, insult or
shame another person. Studies of cell phone use in the 21st century report well over 50 %
of adolescents use them and that text messaging is the communication mode of choice.
Studies also show a signiﬁcant percentage of adolescents send and receive sex messaging,
both text and images. This paper will review this expanding literature. Various motivations
for sexting will also be reviewed. This new technology presents many dangers for ado-
lescents. The legal implications are extensive and psychiatrists may play an important role
in evaluation of some of these adolescents in the legal context. This paper will also make
suggestions on future remedies and preventative actions.
Keywords Sexting Á Adolescence Á Cyberbullying Á Internet Á Forensics
Adolescence is a period of development whereby a child makes the transition from
childhood into adulthood. This is a phase marked by establishing a sense of identity, core
values, a sense of one’s relationship to the outside world and putting an increased value on
P. Korenis (&)
Department of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine—Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center,
1276 Fulton Avenue, Bronx, New York, NY 10456, USA
S. B. Billick
New York University School of Medicine, 901 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10021-4157, USA
Psychiatr Q (2014) 85:97–101