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I know it’s illegal for a child to send nudes of themselves, as that would constitute child pornography. However, can a child ask a consenting adult for nudes legally?

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    Are you asking about the situation in the US?
    – Schmuddi
    Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 15:41
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    Are you asking if it is a crime for the child to ask, or a crime for the adult to do so. Asking without getting is almost surely not itself a crime. Kid's say the damndest things.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 19:58
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    Also, the answer seems obvious to me, but are you asking about whether a child may legally ask for dick pics, or about artistic displays of nudity?
    – bdb484
    Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 19:59
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    How do you know it's a child asking for the nudes? If this is an online relationship, the other end might be a cop trying to score an easy conviction.
    – boatcoder
    Commented Apr 15, 2022 at 4:34
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    @boatcoder +100 to that. Unless this is a Romeo-and-Juliette kind of situation where the two of you are almost the same age, stay away from anyone claiming to be under the age of 18 on the Internet. There's plenty of adults out there to exchange photography of all kinds with. Commented Apr 15, 2022 at 18:18

3 Answers 3

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There is nothing illegal about the child asking for nude images, but, depending on jurisdiction and circumstances, there is quite likely to be a serious legal problem with the adult providing such nudes.

The exact laws that might be violated would depend a lot on the jurisdiction. The detailed facts would also be significant. But such a situation is fraught with danger, for the adult. Even if there is no ill-intent, such actions could easily be misinterpreted, and might be technically unlawful regardless of intent.

Of course, not all nudes are obscene, or even "inappropriate for children". Which are so classified depends on the laws of the particular jurisdiction.

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    most artistic nudes are not pornography
    – Trish
    Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 18:23
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    @Trish quite true, as my comments on another answer specify. But OP asked about "nudes" not pornography. Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 19:17
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    @Trish: it depends on the country. In France there is no definition of pornography, just some vague concepts of stuff that children and adolescents may find disturbing. References to morality were abandoned in 1994. The reverse is true in other countries.
    – WoJ
    Commented Apr 16, 2022 at 16:46
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In , the child can not get indicted for a crime because children (defined by law as people under the age of 14) are never considered criminally guilty (§19 StGB). The idea of a minimum age of criminal responsibility is a concept which is common all around the world (except for Mauritius, Djibouti, Maldives and some of the United States).

However, the adult responding to such a request and sending pornography to a person under the age of 18 could be in violation of §184 StGB: Dissemination of Pornography:

Whoever, in respect of pornographic material (section 11 (3)),

  1. offers, supplies or makes it available to a person under 18 years of age,

[...]

incurs a penalty of imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or a fine.

Now you might of course wonder what's about people who are criminally responsible (over 14) but not yet 18 and convince an adult person to send them pornography. This could be persecuted as Abetting (§26 StGB):

Whoever intentionally induces another to intentionally commit an unlawful act (abettor) incurs the same penalty as an offender.

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Because it is typically illegal for an adult to provide a child with pornography, a child who requests pornography from an adult could face some kind of accomplice liability, on an aiding-and-abetting theory, a solicitation theory, or an incitement theory.

It's essentially the same as standing outside a store asking a adults to buy you alcohol.

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    Note: not all nudes are pornography. Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 14:47
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    Also, to have accomplice liability, one must have criminal intent. Depending on the age of the child, this might not be possible. The analogy with alcohol purchases is IMO very dubious, in that case there are very specific laws about one purchasing on behalf of or at the request of an underage person. I don't know of any similar laws with respect to obscene images, much less simple nudes. Can you cite any case where a child was held criminally liable in such a fact pattern? Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 16:57
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    Indeed if "pornography" means anything legally, it means obscene content. In the US that means the Miller test, a fairly high bar. Most nudes are not obscene. Greek statues are on public exhibit where children see them regularly. So are many works of fine art that include nudes. Wyeth's Barracoon and a number of his Helga nudes, for example, are on display at the Brandywine River Museum, and coffee-table books with prints are on sale to all, not age restricted. The same is true of works by many artists. Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 17:07
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    OP tagged it "pornography," so I'm assuming that's what he's talking about. If he's actually talking about asking an adult for Munch's Madonna, then I'd agree there's no criminal liability, though I don't know why the kid can't get that himself.
    – bdb484
    Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 19:43
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    we don't have tags for "erotica" or "nude" so this may be the closest tag available. Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 20:17

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