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

Thomas Crofts*, Jack Burke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sexting is a complex issue, concerning the interplay between young people’s 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 sexting by young people, 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 proposed in Hong Kong by the Law Reform Commission and Security Bureau, and a consideration of non-legal responses.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAsia Pacific Law Review
Issue number1
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Feb 2021


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