There are laws in place that prevent adults from having sexual relations with minors. Specifically, children below 16 years of age can’t consent to sexual activity. While people may be heavily criminalized for their actions with a minor, the internet has made it easier than ever for people to fake their identities – making it harder for people to know who they are dating.
Here’s what you should know:
Anyone can alter their age online
Age is often an indicator of what restrictions someone can have with another person when it comes to sexual activity:
- Children below 13 years of age can’t consent to sexual contact at all
- Teens between 13 and 15 years of age can’t consent to sex with anyone older than four years of age
- People 16 years of age can consent to sexual activity as long as it doesn’t involve someone in a position of authority over them (like a teacher)
A person who has sexual relations with a child could be convicted of rape or sexual assault. However, some people may be tricked into having a relationship with a minor.
There are many age restrictions on sites and products, yet, these restrictions often lack security, causing many children to easily gain access to content. Likewise, social media and dating sites often lack features to protect children from content they shouldn’t be accessing. This may cause people looking for sexual favors to strike up a conversation with a minor without their knowledge.
Because of the difficulty of knowing what age people are online, there may be an exception for someone who was under the impression they were with someone of consenting age. If you are misled into having sexual relations with a minor, then you may need to seek legal counsel that may support your case.