I wrote a story in today’s paper about some Falmouth teens who were caught “sexting.” You can read the story by clicking here.

For the technologically challenged, sexting is when kids take sexually provocative pictures of themselves or others via cell phone, and then distribute them electronically. Apparently it’s a pretty common problem nowadays.

These kids, all 12-14 years old, are being hit with felony child pornography charges after one of the boys took a naked picture of his 13-year-old girlfriend and then sent it to friends.

I’m really not allowed to voice my own personal opinion about this case because I need to remain objective, but it brings up some serious questions. Such as how big of an issue is sexting? Should kids be allowed cell phones in school? Should kids be allowed cell phones that have the capability to take pictures? Should the girl be in just as much trouble as the boy?

And finally, child pornography charges are felony charges. Meaning they will stay with these kids for the rest of their lives if convicted. Do you think this case rises to that level? What do you think can be done to stop it? All I know is I’m glad no one had cell phones when I was in high school.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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11 thoughts on “Sexting?!

  1. I heard about this the other day. You know, I don’t know if the kids should be prosecuted on felony charges, if at all. It’s embarassing enough when said 13 year old girl realizes her boyfriend is a douche nozzle and sent her private pictures around to everyone. I think it’s a parents responsiblity to teach their children basic respect for other people; modesty norms, and the like. I also don’t think kids should have these fancy schmancy phones at such an early age. I get the argument that children maybe need a cell phone to get in touch with parents in an emergency, but how about getting them a basic phone that DIALS. Should the girl be in as much trouble as the boy? Nah. It was the boy that distributed the photos. The girl should be taught how to RESPECT HERSELF MORE, but I think she’s probably learned her lesson at this point.

  2. If I choose to get Rocket a cell phone before the age of 14, it will be on some plan that allows me to choose who he can and can’t call, how many minutes he, specifically, is alloted, and no texting. And I won’t alter these stipulations until he has shown to me that he is a responsible, respectful, and considerate young man. Oh and not have a pension for taking pornographic photos of other 6th and 7th graders. Unbelievable. Where are the parent’s of these children?

    I probably will never allow texting, truthfully. Rocket will know how to spell complete words, with capitalization and proper punctuation. Call me strict but thems the breaks :).

  3. I see both sides of this story. On one hand, yeah, that boy needs to friggen realize that he screwed up in a major way. However, should be get a felony charge and go to prison for that? He certainly didn’t violate the statute in the way that it was intended (he’s not a 45-year-old pressuring his 12-year-old daughter to do that). He’ll probably get off with a lesser charge and community service, which will dissappear from his record when he’s 18.
    As far as cell phones with pictures, I challenge you guys to actually find a cell phone that doesn’t these days. Unless the kids get those old people phones with only three buttons, they’re going to keep having access to camera phones.
    These days, with digital cameras, it only takes one bad decision for nekkid photos of you to get posted all over the internet. I don’t think “sexting” is any worse that 14-year-olds posting semi-nude photos on myspace or photos of themselves chugging booze. It’s up to the parents to make sure they a)know what their kids are doing online, and b) raise their kids not to be whores.

  4. Tough situation for the school officials and police. They certainly have to take it seriously. But felony charges? I don’t think that is warranted.

    Kids have been “playing doctor” or similar type stuff forever. The difference is they never had cameras to record it. We need to recognize technology causes problems as well as solves problems.

    Suspend them from school for having the pictures there. Give them some serious community service time. Make them take appropriate classes on the matter on their own time. Hell, ground them for the next year! But making a felony out of this is ridiculous.

    And you can blame the parents if you want – and many will. But I seriously doubt they advocated or knew about this. And anyone who tells you this would never happen to their kid is kidding themselves. It can, regardless of how good a parent you are or how good a kid your child is. One bad decision…

    Should kids this young have cell phones? That’s an interesting situation. We talk about them being for safety, but I believe the truth is parents give them to kids to make things more convenient for the parents. Don’t want to wait for the kids bus after a game? Just call me when you get in. I know it is good to be able to reach your kid whenever you want – but is that really necessary? Hell, my wife hardly ever answers the phone if she sees it is me! Maybe not the best example…

  5. Hey, Rick was just listening to WBZ Radio and Dan Rhea just mentioned your name in regards to this article. Thought you might like to know.

  6. Sweet. Did they pronounce it right?? Tell Rick I said hi and that when Charlie is old enough we’re going to have to get our kids together, get drunk and make ridiculous bets involving them.

  7. I say definitely no felony charges. Contrary to what some may think, if they are charged with that, it will show up on their CORI reports forever, at least the ones lawyers and cops and schools can pull, and it will not give the details of what a stupid kid thing it was.

    I don’t think kids should have cell phones that can text. Sorry, but it’s a major time-suck, and there’s absolutely no reason that kids need to text each other. Usually, they’re sitting right next to each other when they’re doing it, and that’s just plain stupid. As for the camera, well, I guess you better have some SERIOUS conversations with your kids about what can come from that.

    It’s really no different than if I posed naked for some douche when I was 12 and he got a million copies of the photo to hand out to his friends. The trouble is the internet has made this posing naked shit “cool.” It’s not cool, and it will always come back to haunt you, so it’s up to parents to sink that into the hormone crazed noggins of their kids.

  8. i have no quick answers, but i’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, as my oldest is 14. he’s already been sent provocative messages on his phone.

  9. Maybe I’m not properly delving into the delicate layers of this issue but my response would be, teach your tramp in training to keep her damn clothes on and that wouldn’t happen.

    If I had pulled that at her age, pictures circulating around would have been the least of my problems. My parents would have taken turns beating my ass. And I knew that, hence I didn’t get in those situations.

    It seems to me there is an opportunity here that isn’t being taken advantage of. Don’t punish the boys at all. They were being boys!! If girls thought a boy could video tape her or photograph her and pass it around to everyone, with no repercussions, perhaps they’d actually use their heads for something other than make-up pallets.

    The issue isn’t truly the technology aspect of this. It’s the state of youth today and their unwillingness to behave with even a remote semblance of class or dignity. 20 minutes in the mall always gives me urge to have my tubes tied.

    This is my favorite quote, a JEE original….

    Integrity is NOT a car from Acura!!

  10. i’m sorry, but why is the girl blameless? she needs to keep her boobs in that training bra and under her shirt. as if some perverted, horny boys aren’t going to show all their buddies-HA! perhaps this can be an embarassing lesson in modesty for her.

    i’m not saying the boyss get away with the “boys will be boys” mentality. they definitely need to be taught a few lessons involving discrection, respect and doing the right thing.

    as far as the felony charges and whatnot, i honestly don’t know what to think. one part of me is concerned about things like the internet and pedophiles getting their dirty hands on pictures like this. the other part of me is concerned for the futures of the parties involved.

    where is the line drawn between teenage immaturity and child pornography?

    the article was great, by the way. i read it this morning and was totally creeped out by the entire thing.

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