Lanzarote Committee: ‘Sexting’ among children is not child pornography

The Lanzarote Committee, a body in charge of monitoring the implementation of the Council of Europe’s convention for the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, has published a report  stating that ‘sexting’ among children that includes generating, receiving, and sending sexual images does not amount to the ‘production, possession, offering or making available, distributing or transmitting, procuring, or knowingly obtaining access to child pornography’ since it is intended solely for their own private use. 

However, when sexual images/videos of young children are generated by children themselves, such acts need to be addressed by  victim support and not subjected to criminal prosecution as these children should be considered victims of manipulation or coercion.

On the other hand, when children knowingly distribute sexual images and videos that were intended for private viewing, then only as a last resort they should be criminally prosecuted. The committee advocates the use of educational measures and therapeutic assistance to deal with such behaviour.