Articles tagged with sexting

Illinois sexting bill aims to educate, not criminalize

As BoardBuzz has mentioned before, “Sexting” became a household term last year after four Pennsylvania teens were charged with disseminating and possessing child pornography after officials learned they had exchanged nude photos of themselves via cell phone. Moreover, lawmakers have been rethinking the issue, and most seem to want to decriminalize sexting among teens.

The Illinois legislature passed a bill back in March that would limit penalties for minors that share nude or sexually explicit photos via cell phone or computer. The bill, which has moved to Governor Pat Quinn’s desk for signature, aims to take a realistic approach to teens making stupid decisions. It would both educate and punish teenagers for sexting, but not treat them as sex offenders. Sexting teens would likely receive counseling and perform community service.

Ars Technica notes:

Under the Illinois proposal, teens who send racy images to just each other would not be punished—only those who decide to widely distribute those images (usually as part of an attempt to blackmail or embarrass the sender). Those found guilty of sending the texts would be subject to juvenile court supervision, but wouldn’t get labeled a sex offender for possessing an image of a minor, as would be appropriate under current Illinois law.

“As the Internet explodes and people are taking advantage of it, these images hang around forever,” said State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago). “Once they’re disseminated, they can ruin somebody’s career.”  Silverstein left open the option of crafting more severe penalties for sexting. “If it continues, we might have to take harsher steps,” he said.

Quinn’s spokesman Bob Reed said the governor intends to review the bill before committing to sign it. What do you think? Does the Illinois bill strike the right balance between punishment and education?

Erin Walsh|April 30th, 2010|Categories: Educational Technology, Student Achievement, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|Tags: |

A disturbing new trend in technology that could use some censorship, adult intervention

In a world of burgeoning technology, people sometimes find it necessary to coin new terms for the modern marvels of this century when existing words won’t do them justice. The latest example? Sexting: sending or receiving text messages with sexually explicit content or images.

Not so marvelous, but according to news outlets across the country, it’s the latest trend in irrational adolescent behavior confounding parents, school administrators and authorities.

WTHR Eyewitness News in Indianapolis called it the “new nationwide problem at schools.” Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus puts the issue in perspective for dismissive adults: “If you don’t think teenagers are dumb enough to do this — think about all the dumb things you did as a teenager, then add the mischievous possibilities created by digital broadband.”

Going through puberty is terrifying enough without the tantalizing avenues of communication afforded by the Internet. While pre-teens and teens sending nude photos through cells phones or computers is troubling, it offers a learning opportunity for schools grappling with technological growth.

To deter students from the practice, authorities are advertising the severe penalties of sexting, which in some districts include counts of child pornography and listing on the state sex offender registry. Lawmakers in Vermont would like to avoid this punitive approach by exempting 13- to 18-year-olds from child pornography charges, so long as the sender voluntarily transmitted the image.

Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, started a “Think Before You Post” campaign to educate children about the effects of their online activities.

Perhaps frightening to adults, the trend reveals a broader inevitability: Despite efforts to equip students with wise social habits, tech-savvy youth ultimately control their online exposure at the click of a mouse or push of a button.

Fortunately, in a world of language teetering on the technological frontier, trust is not a dirty word.

Christian Kloc, Spring intern

Naomi Dillon|April 15th, 2009|Categories: Governance, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , |
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