Safe Sexting?

By Casey Lynn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

One hot topic in the news the past few days: cellphones and dirty pictures.

textingPolice have investigated more than two dozen teens in at least six states this year for sending nude images of themselves in cellphone text messages, which can bring a charge of distributing child pornography. Authorities typically are notified by parents or schools about so-called “sexting.”

This isn’t exactly a new phenomenon, but a new case involving some teenage boys in Virginia have brought it back into the spotlight. And in Ohio, a judge is trying to decide what to do with a group of 14-17 year-old girls who were caught trading nude photos of themselves on their cellphones. Even a teenager convicted of child pornography distribution would be registered as a sex offender, which can pretty much ruin your life. Law & Order likes to feature characters who were convicted of statutory rape as an 18-year-old sleeping with their 16-year-old girlfriends as sympathetic victims of the “system” – maybe the new exemplar will be 17-year-olds caught sending provocative photographs to their significant others.

On a side note, I find the term “sexting” to be fairly obnoxious.

A common refrain in news items and blog posts on the topic seems to be, “Where are the parents?” Though in my personal opinion, whereas that argument can apply to some Internet uses (because of filtering, limiting access, etc.), it loses steam for cell phones. It seems unlikely that parents will ban their teenagers from having cell phones on the off chance that they might decide to take inappropriate photographs, and whereas I can certainly agree that there are many parents who aren’t nearly involved enough in monitoring their children’s behavior, there’s really only so far you can go.

So I suppose the only way you can really “safe sext” is to make sure you wait until after your eighteenth birthday to do it. And after that, the only danger is leaving your cell phone in a cab, whose driver then decides to extort you (as in a recent episode of 30 Rock).

Image Source: flickr