Should Sexting Be Illegal?
Posted by Mitch Mitchell 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.