"A lot of kids don't know what can happen when they sext," says Stephanie Mihalas, Ph.
D., a psychologist in Los Angeles who has worked with many clients who have gotten into trouble for texting explicit photos and videos.
"Guys are more open to showing their friends pictures of a girl, either because they think she's hot or because they want to make fun of her," Kat says.
In recent years more than 20 states—including California, New York, and New Jersey—have introduced laws aimed at teens caught sexting.
Sexually explicit images of under-eighteen-year-olds are considered child pornography; depending on the state's laws, district attorneys may prosecute anyone who's gotten hold of such a picture, from the subject and photographer to the distributors and recipients.
While Kat has never sexted, she admits she's thought about it: "I have a boyfriend now, and sometimes I feel like it might lighten the mood or make things fun," she says.
"To be honest, I didn't even think about the legal stuff at all."Many teens don't.