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September 19, 2021 at 10:45 am #6234alizadespeissisGuest
Sexting may be a term that many parents have not even heard of but that does not diminish the importance of understanding what this trend is all about and knowing what the ramifications can be if your child is involved. Whether you may want to admit it or not, teenagers are sending sexual messages and naked pictures of themselves using their cell phones. In most cases it’s the girl sending a picture or to the guy. It has quickly become part of the ritual of dating with 20% of teens (both boys and girls) saying that they have been involved. While many people may be thinking “What’s the big deal?” then you should think again. This practice can ruin teenagers’ lives.
Recent cases show how serious the ramifications can really be:
. Six teens in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, were charged as juveniles with possessing child pornography after three girls sent nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves to three boys.
. A thirteen-year-old boy in Middletown, Ohio, is facing felony pandering obscenities charges after taping a sex act and showing it to friends at a skating party.
While everyone agrees these kids need to be punished, it stands to reason that we do not need our thirteen or fourteen-year-olds charged with child porn and lumped in with adult pedophiles and labeled as sex offenders. Several leading attorneys seem to feel that there is no one reason prosecutors are opting to charge teens with child porn instead of lesser charges. Some feel the court may be doing it to “send a message.” Others may feel they have an obligation to charge these teens with the most serious offense possible and, according to the law, naked pictures of underage kids are usually considered child porn. And still others may feel they are left with no options since there are not really any laws that apply specifically to sexting.
The bottom line is that it has become clear we need to change our laws to catch up with technology. While none of these actions can be condoned they must be dealt with in the context of what has happened.
A great illustration of why change is needed now can be found in the story of Phillip Alpert, of Orlando, Florida. While he did not ask for pictures, his girlfriend sexted him naked pictures of herself. When they broke up, he mass e-mailed the photos to several of their high school classmates to get back at her. Alpert, eighteen, was convicted of transmission of child porn and he will carry the label of “sex offender” until he is forty-three years old. He lost friends, was kicked out of school and he can not even move in with his dad because his dad lives near a school.
It’s important that parents, educators and lawmakers join together to make sure the punishment really does fit the crime. While everyone agrees that kids who participate in sexting should be punished, let’s make the punishment realistic. Let’s kick them off cheerleading squads and sports teams. Make them do community service and take classes on sex crimes. They can educate other teens on the dangers of sexting. Yes they should pay a price, but these young people should not pay for this for the rest of their lives.
But the best step is always prevention- The bottom line: We need to educate, not incarcerate, our teens and it has to start with parents. It is important to not let the culture indoctrinate your little boy or girl about sex before their time. Strike first as a parent and if your kids are older, let them know a digital record is for life. Explain to your kids that when little Suzie tries to win the affection of little Bobby by sexting him a picture, she is putting her future at stake. There is no control over that image or video once it gets out and most likely ends up on the internet. But that does not mean little Suzie should be charged as a child pornographer.