“Sexting” teens are facing child pornography charges for sending and receiving naked photos, even if it’s a 14-year-old girl sending her own photo to her boyfriend. Surely, bringing felony sex charges against foolish adolescents isn’t the best way to protect them from their own folly, writes Dahlia Lithwick on Slate. These kids could end up on a sex offender registry.
. . . the great majority of these kids are not predators and have no intention of producing or purveying kiddie porn. They think they’re being brash and sexy, in the manner of brash, sexy Americans everywhere: by being undressed.
Online harassment poses a greater risk to teens than voluntary exposure, Lithwick writes.
Parents need to remind their teens that a dumb moment can last a lifetime in cyberspace. Judges and prosecutors need to understand that a lifetime of cyber-humiliation shouldn’t be grounds for a very real and possibly lifelong criminal record.
One in five teens admitted to “sexting” nude or semi-nude photos to a friend in a national survey.