It has been in the news several times lately, sexting. Mostly teenagers who send an explicit picture of themselves to their boy-or girlfriend. The problem though is that the receiver often will forward this picture to his or her contacts and the chain reaction has begun. Some teenagers have been arrested for child pornography and I wonder if this is a right decision based on moral grounds.
Nebraska, Utah, and Vermont all changed their laws last year to reduce severity of the penalties in recognition of the sexualized culture that pervades sites like MySpace and Facebook. Fourteen other states are considering new laws that would treat underage sexters differently from adult child pornographers.
The world has changed with all the new technology, especially cell phones have a significant impact on the social life of teenagers. Texting is not strange to them, most of them think that their parents are slow when it comes to that. But now we're dealing with sexting. I'm pretty sure that there are adults who are doing the same but the focus is on teenagers who send each other indecent pictures with their cell phones, mainly purchased by their parents.
Is sexting a crime though. I wonder if it should be considered a crime. And I definitely have my doubts to call it child pornography. There's a big difference between a sensual picture between two teenagers and the disgusting pictures or videos taken or made by adults. It's a dilemma how to deal with this new phenomenon. We certainly can't just be bystanders and not protect our children from possible consequences that sexting will have. On the other hand, if this sexting goes on between two teenagers I think it shouldn't be defined and therefore treated in a criminal lawsuit as child pornography.
I realize that the content that is being send can vary from innocent to disturbing. The schools should have programs where they interact with the students about this topic and the possible exposure of it. Parents play an important role to discuss this openly with their teenagers. Let us be as preventive as we can be. We will not be able to stop it but we have a moral obligation to participate in something that could harm our children in a way it wasn't attended.