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Should Sexting Be Illegal?

Posted by on Jun 11, 2010

It’s Friday again, which means controversial topic day. In this case it’s this latest trend that the news media has deemed to call “sexting”. In essence, it’s the concept of taking, then sending, racy or naked pictures via cellphone. Most of the time, it seems this sexting is being done by young women, mainly under the age of 17, of themselves in various states of dress or undress, then storing them on their phones so they can either send them to others or keep them to amuse themselves in some fashion later on. Hey, don’t ask me!

I’ve said either here or elsewhere that if you have a child in today’s world, there will be a nude picture of that person one of these days. Either someone else will take it or they’ll take it of themselves. Let’s face this fact; there’s a different level of “hotness” attributed to young girls than we had back in the day. I don’t quite know what it is, but as I sit here right now I can only remember a few girls I went to high school with who, even now, I remember could have been considered “hot” as opposed to cute or super cute. Even though those were the days of miniskirts, there wasn’t a lot of that going on when I was a kid; I couldn’t really tell you why, except maybe living on a military base where there were a lot of guns kept that down some. I also have no doubt that, had we the technology that gives us cellphones, pictures would have still been taken and shared; I’m not quite that naïve.

Here’s the thing. Kids are being arrested these days and being charged with sex crimes, pornography and the like. How are they being discovered? They’re being found out two ways. One, because someone gets stupid and posts a picture online; moron. Two, because they get their cellphone taken, and then some pervert principal or teacher, who believes they have the right to go through a person’s private property, finds the images and calls the police. On the first one, I have a problem, but it’s a much different problem, with what happens. On the second, I have a definitive stand, though it may or may not be controversial.

I’m of the opinion that you can’t arrest someone for taking pictures of themselves; I mean, what the heck is that? And if you can’t arrest someone for taking pictures of themselves, then you can’t go around arresting girls, or guys if they’re doing it, for taking pictures of themselves; I don’t care how old they are. And then, by extension, you can’t arrest those kids for sharing pictures of themselves with someone else; once again, I could care less who they share it with. It’s their picture, and they have the right to do with it whatever they want to do with it.

Or do they? Because now here are the caveats, things that I believe would have to be in place. One, if someone else shares that person’s picture, now they’re liable because now those other people ARE distributing child pornography, as the law dictates. Two, putting images online where anyone could see them now suddenly isn’t a private act anymore, and thus the laws of pornography would kick in. In other words, you don’t get to make money off naked pictures of yourself if you’re under aged, and you don’t get to claim the rights of privacy either. We all know there’s no such thing as privacy online, even if you believe you’re protecting yourself in some fashion. Anyone can share anything if they’re given access, whether it’s the right thing to do or not.

And one final thing. Allowing teachers to look through the personal property of students without the belief that something criminal is going on violates every privacy standard that my mind screams about. If you smell marijuana on someone’s clothing, doing a search of their bags makes sense to me. If a student seems like they’re drunk or high, I got it. But because you’ve snagged someone’s cell phone doesn’t give you the right to look through it at their pictures, their music, or any phone numbers they might have stored in there. You don’t have the right to look at their incoming or outgoing messages. And you certainly don’t have the right to suspend any students who might have those types of things on their phones, unless you called the police, they looked and found the pictures, and they were on school property. This stuff about schools suspending kids for things that didn’t happen in the school that also didn’t involve another student just has to stop. Notice the caveat I added, because I believe bullies in school are bullies outside of school, and they should not only be suspended but prosecuted.

Okay, that my rant on that. Having said that, I will acknowledge that girls seem to have this thing mastered way more than guys. Heck, I can’t figure out how to take a regular picture with my camera and keep my finger out of the way, and almost every picture comes out fuzzy. And I can find few black girls who do it either; that’s why there’s no picture of one here, because I could only find one, on Twitter, and in my opinion that wasn’t open source, so I didn’t feel it was mine to use. I have no doubt they’re doing it; I just can’t find the proof that they’re doing it as often.

Either way, I think making it a criminal action is wrong. However, parents, please talk to your kids and raise your kids right, so that this won’t become an issue in the first place.

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I can’t see how you can make a law preventing someone from taking a photo of themselves. Perhaps if they were to try and sell it on the Internet they could possible get caught, but I doubt if you could punish them for sending it to friends.

I have to admit that women seem to like taking heaps of photos of themselves. You see heaps of it on FaceBook. A bit up themselves if you ask me.
.-= Sire´s last blog ..FlexSqueeze Latest Update Absolutely Rocks =-.

June 11th, 2010 | 9:56 AM

It’s kind of an amazing thing all around, Sire. Here, they are throwing kids in jail, or at least arresting them, and it’s ridiculous. And those photos… guys just don’t seem to either be able to do it right, or aren’t comfortable enough to do it.

June 11th, 2010 | 12:23 PM

Yeah, and I don’t see the fascination that people have of taking photos of their private parts either. I just took a photo of my penis thought there wasn’t much to look at so I deleted it. Why would I post it on the Net? 😉
.-= Sire´s last blog ..The Need For Speed Computer Style =-.

June 11th, 2010 | 6:40 PM

There wasn’t much to look at; multiple ways to take that, and all of them funny! lol But you’re right, I can’t imagine it being all that unique and impressive in a picture.

June 12th, 2010 | 2:20 AM

Hey, what did you expect? It’s not like I was exited about taking it or anything 😀

June 12th, 2010 | 2:32 AM

I’m not sure whether to pick on your not being excited or you’re not being “exited”, which takes on a totally different connotation. lol

June 12th, 2010 | 3:29 PM

Damn, I meant exited 🙂

June 12th, 2010 | 8:02 PM

I’m still thinking you meant “excited” lol

June 12th, 2010 | 8:23 PM

Of course you’re right, I can’t believe I misspelled that twice in a row.
.-= Sire´s last blog ..How Would You Like To Win An Apple iPad? =-.

June 12th, 2010 | 8:54 PM

Like I said, I wonder where your mind really was lol

June 12th, 2010 | 9:36 PM

Sire and Mitch, it’s illegal for anyone under 18 to take sexually explicit pictures of themselves and send them via a phone or the net. It is is considered to be possessing and distributing child pornography.
.-= Rose´s last blog ..Unique Gifts for Dad =-.

June 16th, 2010 | 11:15 PM

Rose, you missed the point of the question; should it be. If you have the police show up at your door because your 15 year old daughter took a picture of herself and sent it to a boyfriend, are you ready to see her sitting in jail until she’s 21 years old for child pornography, and having to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life? It’s not a point of your saying “I’ve taught my child better”; every parent I’ve ever talked to says that about their children. Do you believe the act fits the potential consequences?

By the way, that’s only the law in the United States. In other countries (don’t know about Australia), the age limits could be as low as 14.

June 16th, 2010 | 11:21 PM

First…………Don’t put WORDS in my mouth. Where did I say I taught my child better. I didn’t. I don’t like that. Don’t assume I’m every parent. Do you have a teenage daughter? Have you raised a teen? Just curious!

It is the law here in Canada. I don’t believe I missed the point of your question. Should sexting be illegal? Yes, if you are a minor and in fact as I pointed out it is illegal.

I think it is important for children (teens) to realize that.

Should a 16 year old boy be charged with possession of child pornography because his 16 year old g/f text him a photo- I don’t believe so. They certainly should not be labeled a criminal on a sex registry somewhere. However, there should be consequences.

Breaking the law is breaking the law.
.-= Rose´s last blog ..Happy 18th Birthday in Heaven =-.

June 17th, 2010 | 1:01 AM

I was anticipating an argument before you made it; I have many parents use that argument against me, as someone without kids. I used to be a kid, so I know what that part is like at least.

So, you understood the point of the question; you state that you believe kids should be arrested because it’s illegal. But, your own words, you’re not arresting the 16 year old boy who has it, but you will arrest the 14 – 16 year old girl who might take the picture of herself. And you’d do that because it’s illegal, and I assume you really believe it should be illegal.

I guess that’s why we all have opinions, and why we’re all individuals. I tend to not believe children should go to jail for any of it, and I believe the laws need to be at least looked out because they’re outdated based on today’s technology. I doubt our Supreme Court ever knew phones that took pictures were going to be coming out when they passed child pornography laws. I agree that kids should be taught not to do certain things, but this is one of those things that I believe is terrible law and terrible policy. I don’t believe, in general, that sexting should be illegal if a person is taking a picture of themselves. And I still don’t believe teachers have the right to look at anyone’s personal property; and I wrote that, so you don’t say I put those words in your mouth as well.

June 17th, 2010 | 1:14 AM

You shouldn’t anticipate anything. Again, I’m not other parents and that is the thing you don’t have children- no offense. I’m not saying though you should not have an opinion on such things & um again your assuming.

I believe I pointed out that it is illegal for anyone under 18 to sext & yes it should be illegal for anyone under 18.

Sexting in general should not be made illegal. Though it is something I would never do to each their own,

The law against minors sexting was put in place to protect children and here they are breaking that law.

There should be consequences, but they most certainly should not have a criminal record the rest of their life.

So let me get this right- You think it should be legal for a minor to take a sexually explicit photo of themself and send it to someone?
.-= Rose´s last blog ..Happy 18th Birthday in Heaven =-.

June 17th, 2010 | 1:34 AM

I never said I believe they should be arrested. I think my replies are being misunderstood and I do believe you are assuming a lot about me because I’m a parent.
.-= Rose´s last blog ..Happy 18th Birthday in Heaven =-.

June 17th, 2010 | 1:37 AM

Children shouldn’t be prosecuted. However,it’s up to parents to educate their teens. Teens should know it is illegal and they could be charged. Understand what I’m saying now?
.-= Rose´s last blog ..Happy 18th Birthday in Heaven =-.

June 17th, 2010 | 1:41 AM

Of course I’m assuming a lot about you because you’re a parent. I’m assuming that you would teach your children right from wrong as you believe it; am I wrong in that assumption? If so then you’re right in what you said in the other post, that my not being a parent clouds my judgment on what parenting should be. But I don’t believe I’m wrong here.

June 17th, 2010 | 1:50 AM

I always anticipate; it’s what’s kept me alive for all these years. lol I also assume things, which also has kept me from being killed a few times as well. But that’s another story.

I knew it was illegal already; I wrote that in the post. And, at least in the States, there is no specific law against sexting; that’s my issue. There’s a law against child pornography, but what was never addressed was children taking pictures of themselves. So, in essence, the law that’s being used against kids is invalid.

On that last part, now you’re assuming, because I didn’t say that. But now I’ll say it; true. I don’t believe anyone can exploit themselves. I do believe that kids should be taught the dangers of it all, but should it be illegal? Heck no. Now, should parents step up and stop coddling their kids by buying them these things so they can do it? Well, I guess that’s up to parents who have the money to buy their kids whatever they wish.

Here’s the thing; we might be caught up in terminology. In my mind, if you believe something is illegal, then you have to be saying you believe those people should be arrested, since that’s what’s done with folks doing illegal things. And if it’s illegal, at least in the States, you get a criminal record. Does the law work differently in Canada?

June 17th, 2010 | 1:48 AM

Well I guess we have a difference of opinion on this.
.-= Rose´s last blog ..Happy 18th Birthday in Heaven =-.

June 17th, 2010 | 2:37 PM

Yeah, and that’s okay; it’s what makes the world go around.

June 17th, 2010 | 4:16 PM

To clear up something- You said “It’s not a point of your saying “I’ve taught my child better”; every parent I’ve ever talked to says that about their children. ”

You assumed that as a parent I would use that as an argument. As a parent I have taught my children better then a lot of things they have done.

As a parent my parents taught me better than a lot of things I did.

My daughter is 20. My son is 16 1/2. I’m not naive. lol
.-= Rose´s last blog ..Happy 18th Birthday in Heaven =-.

June 17th, 2010 | 3:01 PM

I agree- how can you arrest someone for taking pics of themselves, BUT how old are they and who are they actually sending them to?

It is none of a teachers business what is on a students cell phone! A teacher should not check it unless they have a VERY good reason

Parents should be the one’s to perform that task!
.-= Carolee´s last blog ..Is it time to get out of Dodge? =-.

June 11th, 2010 | 10:42 AM

Glad we agree on that one, Carolee, and I’m assuming it’s something you wouldn’t have to deal with all that often since you home school. I just don’t think our laws have been able to keep up with technology.

June 11th, 2010 | 12:26 PM

Here is another thing you did not mention. Pictures going from over aged people to younger people. If this is illegal to do over the internet then why would it be ok to do it via a cell phone.

Would you prosecute an 18 year old boy for sending a picture to here 16 year old girl friend?

I would not, but I guess that’s why we are in the moral spiral that we are in right now.

We see mature bodies and and relate that to mature minds, when the fact is most of us are brainless until we are about 25.

But that’s another subject.

Great post.
.-= marcus´s last blog ..Ideas for making quick money – $1800 in 10 days =-.

June 11th, 2010 | 11:03 PM

I have never ever received a sexted message! It is sad that I do not have any young things in my life who want to impress me with such messages, I suppose. If ever I took a photo of myself in the nude, I guess that the camera’s lens will crack up.
.-= Rummuser´s last blog ..What mark would you like to leave on the world? =-.

June 13th, 2010 | 10:19 AM

Same here, Rummuser; never have I received even one little picture. And like you, I’m certainly not even thinking about sending one; ugh, I don’t want to see that either. However, when I’m full bulked up from all this exercise…

June 13th, 2010 | 10:33 AM

First allow me to say that it is not just girls who partake in sexting. Taking a sexually revealing picture of yourself, and sending it to someone might be the fad, but it is illegal if you are under 18. We really need to get that message out there, before more young teens are convicted with a child pornography conviction.
.-= Rose´s last blog ..Unique Gifts for Dad =-.

June 16th, 2010 | 11:10 PM