Sexting Not Child Porn in New Jersey, But Still a Punishable Offense

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This week, New Jersey approved a bill that says sexting teenagers aren't necessarily child pornographers, a charge they've been leveled with in the past. Instead of being branded sex offenders for life, just for passing on pics of their blooming bodies, they can take a sex-ed program and come out clean. Sounds easy and full of giggles! "We want to make sure these kids know they did something wrong," said a New Jersey assemblywoman. "However, we don't want to send them off to jail. We don't want them to have a criminal record." Hear that kids: your bodies are sacred, for you only and sort of gross.

Basically, sexting is still a crime, but it's a less serious one. At Salon, Tracy Clark-Flory writes that while she doesn't believe "it's a good idea for teenagers to distribute naked photos of themselves," because of how easily they spread, in some ways it's healthy. And it's certainly not going to stop, so "we should find a way to both protect teens against exploitation and allow them a reasonable degree of sexual autonomy."

"If we were really concerned with the well-being and personal rights of teenagers, though, we would create a legislative safe space for sexual exploration," she writes. As technology continues to improve, children will have better and faster ways to show off for one another even if they're in the safety of their own homes. That means they'll also have easier means with which to do awful things with supposedly private correspondence. Even draconian punishment isn't going to stop these rollings balls of hormones, so the alternative, education, will continue to get more and more progressive. Still, for adults: more headaches! The answer is probably to never have kids, ever.

How to fix "sexting" laws [Salon]

[jcoscarelli@villagevoice.com / @joecoscarelli]


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