Nowadays it's almost impossible to prevent minors from viewing pornography due to how readily available it is online. Even after ignoring all the ways one can get around porn blocking tools there is still the fact that a minor likely has peers whose parents have not installed such blocking technology and are happy to share what they find. Many porn sites will have disclaimers saying that only individuals who are 18 years or older should view the material provided, but minors will just click the button affirming they are 18 years old.

I'm wondering what the theoretical legal implications are of a minor doing this. I suspect even if a minor did break the law the courts wouldn't choose to peruse a case, but what theoretical repercussions could occur if someone did choose to prosecute? I'm interested in three cases:

  1. what crimes might the minor who actively views pornography on their own computer be guilty of?

  2. what crimes might a minor who allows a friend to view pornography from their computer or otherwise shares pornography they found with another minor friend be risking?

  3. what about the guardian of the minor? If the guardian was unaware of the minor's activity and did not approve of it I'm pretty sure the guardian is not guilty of anything. However, let's say the guardian decided since they couldn't prevent minors from viewing pornography they instead should try to put it in context by speaking with the minor and basically acknowledging that the minor likely would view pornography and encouraging the minor to speak to them about what they viewed if the minor did so they could put it in context or explain why it was not representative of actual adult relationships etc. Would the fact that the adult gave a sort of implicit consent to minor viewing pornography, or the minor later admitting to viewing pornography and the adult not punishing them for it, in any way make them guilty of a crime? Is the adult safe so long as they did not actively provide such material to the minor?

I assume federal law is what is relevant here and what I'm particularly interested in, but if state law matters let's use my home state of MD.

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