Christopher Maxwell (18) claimed he thought the girl was 17 years old and only discovered her true age after he sent through the offending image.
His solicitor said the first offender was not really paying much attention to details during his short online communication with the girl and that his background meant that he had a different view of sex and relationships to other people.
It was stated the girl was not exactly traumatised by the incident which was reported to police and resulted in Maxwell being cautioned and charged.
Maxwell, who appeared at Falkirk Sheriff Court last week, had previously pled guilty to causing the 12-year-old girl to look at a sexual image sent from his home address of 14 Foxdale Drive, Bonnybridge, on February 14.
The court heard Maxwell had been communicating with the girl through Facebook and his messages started becoming slightly more suggestive as the digital conversation progressed.
He then sent the image through and it was at that point he learned her age.
Maxwell, who lives with foster carers, believed the girl to be 17 when the messages began going between them. He knew the girl’s sister to some extent and she was around 17.
His defence solicitor said this was not an ongoing matter, but an isolated incident which not too much thought gone into.
Details of Maxwell’s troubled upbringing were mentioned and his solicitor said it had given him a skewed view of sex and relationships and of what is and what is not appropriate.
Maxwell is currently studying sports and fitness at Cumbernauld College.
Sheriff Derek Livingston said: “This sort of behaviour is completely unacceptable, but in your case there are certain mitigating factors. You are a first offender and there is no evidence that this complainer is upset about this.”
Maxwell was placed on a supervised community payback order for 12 months with the condition he complete 108 hours of unpaid work within four months. He was also placed on the sex offenders register for 12 months.