This morning, during my 6:00 am treadmill/news watching time, I saw a report about teens facing possible jail time for sexting–sending sexual images via cell phone.’ We are all aware that teens need to be informed of the dangers of online predators.’ And once something’s on the web, it’s there to stay.’ But this is new:’ teens are facing legal charges because distributing these images is being considered the same as distributing child pornography–an illegal practice in most states.
In Greensburg, PA, three girls of around age 16 sent nude pictures of themselves to three guys.’ A football coach saw the images on one of his player’s phones and reported it.’ Next thing you know, the three girls are arrested for distributing child pornography and the males are charged with possessing child pornography, since the females were under 18.’ Not only that, but their names could be registered on sex offender lists.
This goes far beyond teens protecting themselves from online predators and future embarrassment.’ You can read one article about the case.
Legally, some people are protesting this interpretation of the law.’ But whether or not you agree with the way this is handled, this is a case that could now set precedents.
What is our responsibility as teen librarians?’ As usual, inform and be informed.’ When doing your 2.0 workshops or internet safety sessions, tell teens about this case.’ We can teach our teen patrons about responsible uses of technology.
Teen Tech Week is only a few months away and will be celebrated from March 8-14, 2009.’ This is the perfect week to run all types of programs around teens using current technologies.