Thursday, May 07, 2009

Sending of Explicit Photos Can Land Teens in Legal Fix

By Donna St. George
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 7, 2009

In Fairfax County, a teenage boy sent out a text message asking girls to send photos of their breasts. Word got out at his high school, police said, and when authorities tracked the teen down, they discovered a cache of naked images on his phone.

Thus began another investigation into "sexting" -- sending sexually explicit photos by cellphone -- and another deliberation about when adolescent impulsiveness and indiscretion become a serious criminal act. Some of the photos could qualify as child pornography, a felony in Virginia, police said.

Read more HERE.

1 comment:

LegalBeaglette said...

I am wondering when this becomes a “school issue.” Cell phones in Charles County Public Schools are to be turned off during the school day. Should an administrator call a student into the office, and turn on his/her cell phone so that all the photographic images can be viewed, based upon an allegation made by someone else? Or perhaps to view the text messages requesting sexually explicit images sent to others? Or should the school’s resource (sheriff’s) officer do that? In the school, or outside of the school day…at the student’s home? Should the age of the student define how such a matter be handled? If the cell phone is actually the property of the parent(s), and left in the student’s vehicle or locker during the school day…? Is the responsibility for the images that of the minor student, or the parent(s)? What about images/messages on a laptop computer?

I’m posing questions here for which I have no solid answers, and initial questions only seem to lead to more. While I have some parameters about “when adolescent impulsiveness and indiscretion become a serious criminal act,” I admit that this sexting issue is a relatively new…and disturbing…topic to sort through.

What I do know, however, is that many (if not most) students, parents and staff fail to understand the NOT “private” nature of electronic transmissions, in addition to the fact that such transmissions are longlasting. For a school system that heavily promotes its “technology,” perhaps awareness of that should become a priority for everyone.