The 16-year-old girl, smitten with her adult boyfriend, e-mailed him naked pictures of herself. When she wanted to break up with Clarence Hurt of Terrace Park, Ohio, though, he threatened to share those pictures with the world in cyberspace unless she had sex with him.
Others are starting to do programs such as that which we recently enjoyed in Burnet County. So kudos to Eddie Arredondo and Kathryn McAnally at the County Attorney’s office, and our Juvenile Probation Dept. for the 33rd/424th Juvenile Districts headed by Marc Bittner, Juvenile Chief.
Parents now need to get serious about their role in educating kids on the dangers of all of the electronic mediums, not just sexting. The internet and cell phones generally represent windows into a world into which you do not want your children to venture. They must be educated (and convinced) to make the right choices and not pick that “other door.” Special attention must be paid by parents to Facebook, MySpace, cell phone texting, location programs such as Foursquare and HootSuite, and any other electronic “presence” of your child outside of your control.
An example: from the taking and transmitting of ONE photo by a minor to ONE other person, I recently authorized 21 search warrants for cell phones for which there was probable cause to believe they had received (and possibly further transmitted) the photo.
Each of the following persons may have committed a crime (or juvenile delinquency act if under 17) regarding any photo of a minor (i.e. child pornography, “kiddie porn”) the girl who photographs herself, the same girl when she sends it, recipient #1 who receives and keeps it, recipient #1 who retransmits it, each additional person who receives and keeps it, and so on.
Don’t let your child be one of those.
UPDATE: Effective 9/1/11 the Texas Legislature eased up the potential sexting penalties where no more than a four year difference in ages exists, plus other modifications.
- Student Discussion Prompt – Texas Law Targets Sexting (freetech4teachers.com)
- NJ Measure Would Combat Teen ‘Sexting’ (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Manitoba cautions teens about sexting (cbc.ca)
- Suspect Arrested In Hyde Park ‘Sexting’ Case (newyork.cbslocal.com)