Sexting Teens Charged with Child Pornography

Six western Pennsylvania teenagers are being charged with child pornography as a result of engaging in “sexting.” As defined by CBS News, “sexting” is “sending nude pictures via text message.” And, apparently, it is a behavior that is quite common among the nation’s teenagers. A nationwide survey shows that about 20% of teenagers admit that they have indulged in sexting.

Clearly, authorities consider sexting to be a serious crime. In fact, CBS legal analyst Lisa Bloom says that sexting is a serious felony, and that the six aforementioned teens could be facing prison time.

One really has to question whether prison time is a bit too harsh a penalty for these young people to pay for their transgressions. It would seem reasonable to conclude that rational people of all political and religious persuasions would agree with Lisa Bloom when she asks, “What are we going to do, lock up 20 percent of America’s teens?”

To be sure, an adult who sends nude pictures of children and teens via a text message would deserve to punished to the full extent of the law. But our judicial system has traditionally drawn a distinction between adult and juvenile crime. That distinction seems to have been lost here.

I’m reminded of the phenomenon of “streaking”, which was a common stunt perpetrated by indiscreet and reckless youths during the 70s. In case you don’t know, streaking means running naked in public. It was in vogue when I was in high school. And though I never participated in the act myself, I have friends that did.

You can imagine my surprise when, while eating lunch one day on a bench in the school courtyard, I saw my buddy and several other guys run by wearing nothing but their birthday suits. As far as I remember, all they received as punishment for their offense was a slap in the wrist. And the punishment fit the crime.

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