Sexting in Hong Kong : A Complex Interplay between Young People, Technology and Law

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-69
Number of pages23
Journal / PublicationAsia Pacific Law Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021



Sexting by young people is a complex issue concerning the interplay between the participants’ exploration and representation of their developing sexuality, and their use of new communication technologies to socialize in a digital age. Added to this complexity is the way in which the law deals with such sexting, with some jurisdictions allowing prosecution under child pornography laws, while others have introduced measures to prevent the criminalization of young people. This article examines this complex interplay, with a particular focus on Hong Kong. It reviews data on the practice and prevalence of sexting both overseas and in Hong Kong, and explores why sexting is of legal concern. It then examines what legal responses are available for addressing sexting, with a particular focus on child pornography laws. After discussing why it is undesirable to allow prosecution of young people who sext under child pornography laws, the article considers alternative avenues to address sexting in Hong Kong. This includes a review of offences adopted in other jurisdictions as well as some offences recently enacted in Hong Kong and a consideration of non-legal responses.

Research Area(s)

  • Sexting, children’s rights, child pornography, image-based abuse, youth justice

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