It’s a common belief that as our technology grows and evolves, our laws must grow and evolve to appropriately govern it. Applying outdated or narrowly applied laws to new technology can result in serious miscarriages of justice, as overly strict punishments are applied out of proportion to the crime.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the practice of “sexting.” Sexting is the practice of sending sexually explicit text and images to another person or persons via text message. With the recent proliferation of smartphones, it has become a relatively common practice among adults. As phones become cheaper and more available to young people, they have begun to practice sexting as well, and it is among this age group that the legal issues come out in force.
When minors take sexually explicit images of themselves then send the images to another person, the practice is, under current laws, a sex crime — the transmission of child pornography. It’s a technicality that can have serious consequences for all parties involved.
The laws vary from state to state, but the consequences are serious both here in North Carolina and across the country. Those consequences are coming into play for two young students in Georgia, where a sexting scandal recently took place.
Two students, aged 13 and 14, are currently facing charges after they were found to have sent and received a sexually explicit image. According to authorities, the female student took a nude photo of herself using her cell phone. She then sent the image to her boyfriend, who showed it to several other people. School administrators took note of the activity and notified authorities. Charges were filed against the students on Nov. 18.
Though it is important to keep laws against the transmission of child pornography, it is equally important to ensure that those laws are enforced in a just and appropriate way. This concern will likely be addressed at any legal proceedings that stem from these charges.
Source: WCTV, “2 Georgia Middle School Students Charged In Sexting” No Author Given, Nov. 23, 2013