Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sex + Text Message = "Sexting"

Is it true, as a Florida criminal defense attorney asserted in an interview aired on Nightline on April 2, that 20 to 30 percent of American teens engage in "sexting" - i.e., sending or receiving sexually explicit messages, including highly provactive pictures of themselves, over the Internet to friends?

It may be so. One mainstream journalistic source, Parade magazine, which comes with your (old-fashioned print, if you get one) Sunday paper, citing "recent studies," reported on April 4 that the number is one in five. Signifying the sex saturation in our society, the print story ran opposite an ad for bra straps.

Alas, most states' child pornography laws were written long ago - often in the 1980s - when today's technological topography was inconceivable.

Which state will lead the way in rethinking these archaic laws? A teen who breaks up with his girlfriend and, in a fit of adolescent rage, sends nude pictures of her out over the Internet, certainly deserves serious consequences. Sending that teen to prison for several years, however, and branding him as sex offender (through the registry) for upwards of 20 years, seems draconian.

In a revolution - this one technological -it's important to minimize the casualties. This principle surely applies to teens who sext, when undeniable scientific research shows that the judgement-conrol centers in their brains are not fully formed.

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