Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sexting and the Age of Consent

Legislators in Pennsylvania are trying to put your kids in jail.
...the district attorney's office supports a bill proposed by state Rep. Seth Grove (R-Dover Township) that would make it a misdemeanor when teens age 13-to-17 send nude pictures of themselves online or over cell phone.
This is clearly at odds with the state's age of consent law which states:
Anyone between the ages of 13 and 16 can consent to have sex with anyone else who is no more than 4 years older.
So a 13 year old can have sex with a 17 year old as much as they want, but should one or the other take a nude photo, they'll end up before a district judge.

Dallastown School Superintendent Stewart Weinberg wants to keep the pressure on teens.
"Unless there's going to be some really strong discussions the kids have to be involved in, I'm not sure I'm for lessening the punishment," Weinberg said.

"I'm really concerned that if you lower that threshold without having those conversations, we'll have given away the hammer to make sure they realize how serious this is and there'll be more sexting."
I think that this is more of a generational issue. It's not that teens are having more sex than they were 30, 40 or 50 years ago, it's that there is now digital evidence that sex is happening. In the sixties, teens would go "parking" in isolated areas, fumbling around in the back seat, but when they kissed goodnight and went home, the only proof of sex was in the whispers at the lockers in school halls. Parents and authorities have always been able to deal with the knowledge of sex, but this new electronic imaging is a culture shock, and they don't know how to deal with it. Most teens think it's no big deal, and they are right.

Let it go.

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