The Supreme Court Attempts to take action against the teen trend of “Sexting”.
Annie Czecha ’10 Opinion Editor
Recently, a teenage trend has many parents, teachers, and government officials worried. “Sexting” is the act of sending nude or revealing pictures between minors that are often paired with suggestive words and descriptive wording of inappropriate acts. According to a survey by the National Campaign to Support Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, “roughly 20 percent of teens admit to participating in ‘sexting.'”
My biggest concern is that minors are sending these pictures out into the cyber world which qualifies as child pornography. This is where the government becomes worried. In Maryland alone, sexting can result in charges of sexual exploitation of a minor and creation, possession and distribution of child pornography. Many concerned parents are petitioning for a law that is constructed to handle sexting directly rather than as a form of child pornography. An article on UPI.com highlights Parry Aftab in Pittsburgh who is fighting for the supreme court to make a law that directly deals with sexting. “You get a slap on the wrist … or you go to jail and your life is ruined,” Aftab said. Currently, no specific laws have been created, however, the supreme court is trying to figure out how to handle all of the charges.
Many teens are caught off guard when they are informed that sending such suggestive pictures can be considered a felony, and they can be placed upon the sex offender list for the rest of their life. Sadly, because of how common it is, teens are rarely aware that this felony is also considered child pornography. In the case of Hope Witsell, a thirteen year old girl living in Tampa Florida sexting proved to be more than exchanging pictures. She was so mentally exhausted and hurt after a picture had been spread around the school that she took her own life. The Supreme Court will have a hard time discerning which accounts can be looked into because of the way the phones are registered. Viewing of these accounts will walk the fine line of being a invasion of privacy and the protection of minors.
It is very apparent that this not only is illegal but degrades all whom take part in it. In general, this “sexting” is a much bigger problem than the abuse of cell phones. Not because it is a form of child pornography, but it can distort relationships and put even more pressure on body image for all people involved. A relationship is more likely to become physically based and sexually active because of this change in our culture. It is a good thing that the government is finally taking action in this epidemic, but sexting is much more complex than sending and receiving suggestive images.