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back to article States consider saner 'sexting' penalties for teens

Lawmakers in 21 states have considered bills this year that would lessen penalties for teen sexting, in which teenagers send or receive pictures of themselves in various states of undress, according to the Associated Press. The folly of so-called sexting prosecutions, which invoke child-pornography laws to exact harsh penalties …

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Devil

Just outlaw...

mobile phones.

PS. Can I have a "Luddite and proud" icon please?

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Or, like fags and booze...

...put an age limit on them. Stops a whole load of problems. Texing in class, music on the bus, etc.

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Anonymous Coward

title

"...put an age limit on them. Stops a whole load of problems. Texing in class, music on the bus, etc."

That worked a treat for me, first cig when I was 10, started properly when I was 13, quit when I was 26 and realised I'd been smoking more than I hadn't... And yes, I had bought cigs clearly in my school uniform.

Age ratings mean diddly squat in the real world.

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FAIL

How about...

decriminalizing the whole act? It's incredibly stupid that kids can get jailed or whatever for sending nude pics of themselves to begin with. No wonder the US is the laughing stock everywhere else, where kids sexting are jailed and put in the Sex Offenders Registry, and Janet Jackson showing a boob serves to enact 50's-style censorship laws. Sheesh...

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Childcatcher

WSTotC!

Because even with these weakened laws, someone will claim that the evil kiddy fiddlers will force the minors to photograph and distribute the pictures themselves, thus getting around much of the laws. Or perhaps that this will allow the children to create their own kiddy porn rings; cause $60 is cheap compared to what the "market" will pay for each image. Etc. etc...

The scope of the problem has been blown completely out of proportion, but just knowing that doesn't stop people from panicing and passing laws comparable to the scale of the panic.

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Depends...

...on how the picture were taken, who took them and who they get sent to. We don't want to reduce the ability to apply the law to paedos (yes, I know this is getting very close to the "think of the children" argument). I guess one could provide advice to the courts (can they do that in the USA?) that says something like "If the sending party was between 14-18 and the act of sending/receipt was consensual, then send them away with a flea in their ear."

Actually, give that advice to the cops. Much better that the teens get some education on privacy; before they find their bits plastered all over Facebook or something.

You are quite right about the puritanical furore that grips the USA at times. Look at the "Hot Coffee" hack. It's OK for a 14 year old to play a game where they can machine-gun down passers-by ("Hell yeah! Ah gots ah raht to mah guns, commie!") but simulated sex? Oh dear.

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Headmaster

Wardrobe malfunction

We didn't see an entire boob as the 'malfunction' revealed an already carefully placed sticker over her nipple.

I would suggest, m' Lud, that without the nipple there is no 'boob' and if the 'accident' that occurred to Ms Jackson was compared to the usual adverts for Las Vegas dancers then it would be registered as 'not even soft'.

(now follows the usual bit about the two-faced nature of a supposed Xtian country where possession of a car or gun at a relatively early age is preferable to the brief display of one - that's one not two - half-covered breasticle)

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Facepalm

re: Ms Jackson if you're nasty

New censorship laws? I honestly didn't know this. I thought there was just a fine. What are they?

Also - many people objected not to the flash (as it was just that - everyone I talked to wasn't sure if they'd seen anything or not :p ) but to the fact that a man ripped off a woman's top. Prudish or not, some parents objected to their kids seeing this in a non-negative context.

Also - I think only like 0.05% of the Super Bowl viewership complained.

Also - the FCC was later criticized that the fine was too much by the Parents Television Council of all people.

Kinda bored with the superbowl thing always being brought up like some sort of twist on Godwin's Law.

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Daftest thing is ...

Kids have been flashing each other since before there was writing. It's part of growing up. When the chemical soup that makes us "grow up" turns up the wick, we start exploring our sexuality. It's totally, completely normal. All animals do it.

As technology improves and becomes inexpensive/mainstream, the kids will use it. My girlfriend in 10th grade (15 years old) slipped a naked SX-70 photo of herself into my locker in highschool[1].

My grandfather had a daguerreotype of my grandmother naked, sent to him via post from "the old country". We ran across it when going thru' his things after he passed. According to the date on it, she was 14 and a half ... It was almost shockingly pornographic, and the accompanying letter was quite steamy & indicated that they had been having sex[2] 18 months prior. We chose to bury the letter and photo with him; it seemed fitting somehow :-)

As a side-note to the Euros in the audience: not all us Yanks are prudes.

Adults, on the otherhand, should know better ... Even congresscritters.

[1] Don't worry, legal eagles, it's long gone ... She broke into my house and destroyed it 35 years ago, or thereabouts, after I dumped her because she was a slut ;-)

[2] What, you kids think *you* invented it?[3]

[3] STR

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@Daniel B.

And you think that would not happen in the UK ? Which country has extreme porn law. Which country says if she looks under 18 it's kiddie porn. Hint it's not the US. So don't make it sound like America i worse than UK with porn laws .

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I blame...

...the Daily Mail. "Fixing" these laws is political suicide *until* enough people have been crushed by them. That's happened in the USA, so the law can be sorted. Not sure if the same problems have happened here yet.

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Whilst

that part is somewhat dumb, the really stupid part is when its not even real, ie CGI or other art.

People seem obsessed with the idea that thought leads to reality.

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Big Brother

how about

they let the parents deal with it? why is it a crime anyway?

Yeah 40 year old man sending pictures to a 15 year old girl is creepy, and should be investigated but teens sending them to each other, at best it is something they will regret later, but it certainly is not a crime.

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Unless . . .

Unless it's used for bullying by threatening to mass-post, mass-posting then mass humiliation, blackmail etc. etc.

Similar to someone getting hold of a picture of yourself either in the nip or just smething that couyld be judged embarrasing and posting a few dozen copies on lamp posts and trees near where you live. It's not a crime, is it?

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Paris Hilton

Re: Unless . . .

What are you suggesting? That we should criminalise the potential victims of possible blackmail, to stop them from becoming actual victims?

Wouldn't that be a bit like holding women criminally liable for allowing themselves to get raped?

Or criminalising people for possessing cannabis, on the grounds that they've failed to be protected from drugs by prohibition?

Or perhaps I've misunderstood your post, but I think you might have misunderstood the post you were responding to.

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Abso bloody lutely

I can't see that any crime is committed. Teenagers have a perfectly healthy propensity to display their bits to each other, and this is just the tech version.

OK, if someone gets hold of the picture and uses it for blackmail etc, that's a problem, but the problem is the blackmail not the picture.

The idea that the state should even care if a teenager's friends have seen his dick, or her minge, is entirely inappropriate. What next? shagging licences? a groping tax? health warning tattoos?

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Blackmail

Blackmail is a separate, serious crime (as is bullying potentially).

What is at issue here is whether teenagers should be prosecuted for sending, or even just possessing, pictures of themselves. That seems to be an example of state sponsored bullying.

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Paris Hilton

Out and proud.

America's a closet case. Terrified of genuine sexuality, it spends loads on guns and wars to prove how "hard" it is. It really need to be honest with itself and meet a nice boy.

(Paris, 'cause that's what Americans think a woman looks like)

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Anonymous Coward

Typical

Darren you're an idiot. I'm from the U.K, but listening to someone from the U.K bash the Americans over war is like the sea calling the ocean wet. Do you not know your own history? Do you really think all Americans fall into the same category that a handful of nut jobs they show on the teli do? If you do, you're nothing more than the typical Brit...self centered. Which is how most American are as well. They think we all fall into the typical category of Queen Worshipping, sissy wig wearers with bad teeth. Most think we are idiots as well. Just look at the news in the U.K! How can you say anything bad about any country when you watch and hear about the people in our own country? America is just much more open about the nut jobs in their country, if the U.K was just as "open" we'd be judged on our "Paris's" as well. As someone who visits the U.S. quite a bit I can can say, first hand, most Americans are hardly terrified of sexuality. They are hardly afraid of anything. So, listening/reading what a person from the U.K thinks of Americans, or what America thinks of the people from the U.K., or what any country's citizens think of another country's citizens is as annoying as two little kids arguing. It's often pointless, and based on perceived information.

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Big Brother

Violence, sometimes, _is_ a solution.

It's just the tiresome game of politicians empowered by Vocal Minorities [tm] minding your own business.

They give some, they take some, rinse, repeat...

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Privacy?

They should just stop messing with such personal matters, provided that the images are not unsolicited and/or publicly distributed.

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LDS
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Expel from school?

If you have a stupid teen you make it more stupid expelling it from school to ensure she (or he) will have nothing more than her (or his) body to sell to someone? I would add more school to those teens!

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Paris Hilton

I must say...

When I was 15, I dated a girl for a few weeks who was 14.

She had an interest in shall we say, amateur photography. She would present me with floppy disks, that made my disk hard.

Obviously, they were harmless in nature and to be shared between two parties.

Shortly after we broke up, I threw the disk into my bin as the caring and upstanding gent I am.

My friend removed this from my bin at the time without my knowledge, and proceeded to copy and distribute the images far and wide.

While nothing ever came of this from a legal stance, the poor girl went through hell with everyone having seen her in compromising situations.

I personally think that it's harmless fun between teens, however you have a duty of care with such images to protect them from friends.

Paris, because she knows what can happen when these images get out.

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Paris Hilton

@AC

"Paris, because she knows what can happen when these images get out."

Errrr...

1. Pretty clear that this was done deliberatly,

2. She got loads of publicity, ensuring that she will never need to do an honest days work in her life...

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And the real deal?

And what about teens fondling themselves? Still an abuse of minors?

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Unhappy

It wasnt like this when I was at school

Then again few of us had phones, we had no lockers and most importantly of all I was something of a nerd rather than the studly example of manhood I am now.

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Anonymous Coward

What is really wrong with that

is that they also charge teens who received it without asking for it.

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They'll next be...

...putting 10 year-olds on the sex offenders register for grooming because of playing "I'll show you mine if you show me yours".

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Anonymous Coward

ha!

You waited til 10? I got in trouble in kindergarden...

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Ru
Facepalm

Counselling?

Yeah, awesome. Your sexuality is sinful and something to be deeply ashamed of, after all.

Still, I guess it beats expulsion.

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Way to go

California, let's just expel them?!?! How's that more sensible?

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How is it not?

Five years in prison and a lifetime branded as a child pornographer or switch schools. Which would you pick?

Sensible? No. More sensible? You bet.

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Anonymous Coward

Like we are any better with our legislation

Like the US has a monopoly on having stupid legislation like this. In the UK you can be convicted for CP for having a naked picture of someone you can legally see that way with your naked (pun not intended) eye. Also a drawn picture of that person will get you convicted as well.

This due to the difference in the age of consent here (16) vs the age that is considered CP (under 18). At least, for the most parts of the US's their age of consent also matches the age when material of someone is not considered CP. And this stupid situation is not a legacy thing just waiting to be reformed, but put in place by labour in 2003....

Fine not wanting to have 16 -17 year olds being exploited by the awful porn industry, but non real 16 -17 year olds in drawings being exploited? That's if you can tell the age of someone in a drawing, like whether they are 17 (CP) vs 18 (OK). Someone who has a thing for girls that age will just go out and sleep with them with no legal problems. Pretty dumb.

Also we have with the extreme porn laws the scenario that if you download a non BBFC approved cut of a movie you can be a sexual pervert to be arrested rather than just a movie pirate. Sure the movie industry love that one....

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Anonymous Coward

There is an exception...

If you are actually living with someone over 16 but under 18, you are allowed to possess indecent photographs of them. There is no exception for obscene drawings of them, though.

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Alien

Wrong planet?

Sometimes I wonder whether the USA is on the same planet as Europe. Certainly their system of "justice" seems to be operated by Vogons, not humans.

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Joke

naked Vogons?

got any good links?

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Mushroom

counselling? expulsion?

has the world gone fucking insane.

guess what, under their clothes, 99.9% of people have genitals. even young people. get the fuck over it.

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WTF?

Thank <insert deity here> for that! Er... hang on...

Yay - it's stupid - so it's much better we're not going to convict the children any more...

Er... hang on... you want to expel them? Harm their education, move them to another school, just because of something they did outside of school?

Er... $60 fine... er... they earn that kind of money do they?

Counselling!? WTF?

"Why did you do it Johnny?"

"Well, there's these round things that are growing...."

"And you Missy-Lou?"

"Well, there's these round things that are growing..."

Just leave it as it is. Take them to court, jury decides this is rediculous, case thrown out.

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Meh

Mixed feelings

On the face of it, they're apparently trying to do a good thing, but as I understand it, in many cases they would accomplish this by creating a new crime. Since I don't believe this behavior should ever have been considered criminal in the first place, that's troubling. Specifically, I worry the new law may be broader and include acts or material that would not be criminal under existing law. (For instance, a topless photo a minor does don't meet the definition of child pornography, but certainly fits the popular definition of "sexting".) There's also the fact that as state laws, these will not in any way replace existing federal child porn laws, so the whole effort relies on prosecutors to be sensible and use the more appropriate law. Finally, having a more appropriate law could actually mean more kids get prosecuted for this, which I don't think should be happening at all.

Still, putting the practicalities of implementation aside for the moment, I'm really glad lawmakers are finally acknowledging that this is a problem and think it's politically feasible to try and fix it.

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WTF?

Let's call it "stupid"

That anyone wants to *punish* youngsters for doing what comes naturally.

However... making sure that they understand that what's on a trusted friend's phone today is likely to be on the internet tomorrow, and what is a giggle today could spell major embarrassment tomorrow and possibly for years to come: that is the adults' job.

Oh heck. A previous poster had he only answer: ban mobile phones.

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Alert

@theodore ... naked vogons

http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/?page_id=9804

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FAIL

2 sets of laws, once again?

Kids get heavily punished, who cares? A politician might be too. Woh, pass a law, fast!

Or did I miss stg?

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Paris Hilton

But they're teenagers ......

so in a few years' time the bits (yes, that's a "b") won't look anything remotely like they do now ...

Paris, because she has them on show whether they look like they did years ago or not

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Devil

What REALLY upset me

What REALLY upset me was when my step-daughter lashed out on a new iphone and gave me her old one.

She been meticulous in transferring everything before she handed it over to, but on my close examination there was a photo of an erect male donger.

I was disgusted - who buys a Windows phone?

(BTW, she's 37)

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