Media has made teenagers out to be innocently expressing themselves through sexting (sending nude photos of themselves to others through text messaging.) How dare the courts prosecute the youth as child pornography producers, is often their cry. I have read several articles about the dangers of sexting and how the image gets spread around, kinda like a sick joke; it is even posted online for the whole world to find. The child is supposed to have suffered enough from ridicule to be punished any farther. If this is true, then why does this kind of behavior continue rapidly throughout our high school aged children? Wouldn’t they learn from others mistakes? Or better yet, wouldn’t parents learn from all the sexting scandals and control their child’s phone usage? I believe there should be a harsher punishment implemented when authorities are aware of such behavior.
In Rhode Island, legislation has passed that makes sexting by minors illegal. “Sexting offenders can be charged with a “status” offense in Family Court; individuals adjudicated of the sexting offense cannot be prosecuted under the state’s child pornography statutes. Those who possess, or forward, sexually explicit images of a minor other than themselves, however, can be prosecuted under the child pornography laws and, if convicted, may have to register as a sex offender.” Other states that are known for prosecuting for sexting include Indiana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wyoming. I think if more states would pass a law to this affect then we would see sexting among minors drastically decreasing. If the teens do not see the affects of being registered as a sex offender surely their parents will and hopefully will start acting like a responsible parent that is supposed to protect their child. If we keep treating sexting like it is no big deal and that it is just a part of growing up and learning lessons then we are teaching our children that it is okay to brake the law and we should not expect them to quit once they step into the real world as an adult. No wonder so many adults today think that they are invincible when it comes to keeping the law.
We not only need to teach our children the importance of safety online on our computers but with the growing popularity of sexting we need to on their phone as well.