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.

About Lindsey Dunn

I am a teen librarian who has worked in the Wake County Library system for six years now. I have been in YALSA for 3 years now and currently serve on the YA Galley Committee. I received my MLS at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2001. My specialties include book clubs, teen advisory boards, programming, and blogging.

2 Thoughts on “Sexting: A News Report

  1. I agree that this is such a tricky issue; certainly one previous generations of YA services staff didn’t have to handle. Even before this whole case came up, the children’s librarian and I had been telling our teens that this was a possibility and that they needed to watch what they were doing. I don’t think they really get the message that once it’s out there it’s impossible to control. I am one of those people who doesn’t agree with this strict interpretation of the law (teens and teens… seriously, c’mon. They’re with their own age group, this is no different then person to person nudity which I’m sure these particular kids were also engaging in. Having them as registered sex offenders is grossly unjust) but it does give us a good opportunity to open up a discussion on the topic and maybe put a little fear into them. Technology is great, but man does it complicate things.

  2. This is an issue that needs to be addressed in courts of law. Not sure how the courts should proceed in this one.

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