Sexting is Stupid, but Not Criminal

Six Massachusetts middle school students are facing possible child pornography charges after sending a nude photo of a female classmate on their cell phones. If convicted, they would be forced to register as sex offenders.

One of the boys, age 13, took a nude picture of his girlfriend and then proceeded to send it to his friends. When school officials became aware of what was going on, the boys were immediately reported to the principal, who then confiscated the cell phones and then reported the incident to the police.

The six boys will now be forced to attend a hearing to determine if they should be charged with possessing, distributing and exhibiting child pornography. These boys acted distastefully and immaturely, but should they be branded as sex offenders for the rest of their lives?

The intent of child pornography laws is to prevent perverted adults from exploiting children, and these boys were clearly not attempting to do this. As it is, the girlfriend allowed the boy to take a picture of her.

Occasionally the legal system loses sight of common sense. That explains why robbers are able to sue you if they get hurt when stealing something from inside of your home. Americans need to take a step back and use some common sense in this situation. These boys are not sex offenders or child pornographers but products of an overly sexual society, who simply decided to ogle over a classmate.

Unfortunately this phenomena known as “sexting” has become somewhat of an epidemic. According to a national survey conducted by the National Campaign to Support Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, about 20 percent of teens admitted to participating in “sexting”.

The survey also found that 22 percent of teen girls have taken part in “sexting”. As evidenced by this recent case, girls need to realize that “sexted” images often get distributed to a much wider audience than the intended viewers. This statistic is somewhat troubling as well as telling of the culture that we live in.

It is time to smarten up. An underdeveloped frontal lobe is not excuse to abandon all foresight. In the age of the Internet, these types of pictures will remain in circulation forever.

Unless you plan on becoming the next Paris Hilton, or feel that your future boss seeing you naked will help increase your chances of being hired, take the smart route and don’t give naked pictures of yourself to anyone. Boyfriends can become ex-boyfriends quickly, and many times break-ups can cause people to do nasty things like revealing personal pictures that were meant to be private.

As college students, we are the leaders of our generation. We cannot let promiscuity define us and we cannot allow explicitly sexual behavior to appear at such early ages. Legally, there should be no consequences for such actions, but we must reevaluate what defines appropriate behavior as our cultural standards of decency continue to decline.

-Shauna Simeone, Asst. Opinion Editor