The explosion of the “sexting” trend has led to some pretty dire consequences. Just recently in Florida, Philip Alpert was arrested after the 18-year-old sent lewd pictures of his 16-year-old girlfriend to friends. He was charged and convicted with child pornography and is now listed as a sex offender.
Some have said that this is taking a step too far. We all are concerned with child safety, but should we punish the mistakes of foolish kids when there are much more dangerous criminal minds afoot?
“You will find me on the registered sex offender list next to people who have raped children, molested kids, things like that, because I sent child pornography,” said Alpert, “You think child pornography, you think 6-year-old, 3-year-old little kids who can’t think for themselves, who are taken advantage of. That really wasn’t the case.”
In light of the many cases like this that have cropped up, Vermont has taken steps to legalize the practice of sexting in order to protect children from stupid mistakes. The bill, which passed in the state senate earlier this month, makes legal the consensual sending of graphic images between two people 13 to 18 years old. Passing them to others would remain a crime. Supporters say they don’t want to condone the conduct, but they don’t feel that consensual acts should be punished. State Sen. Richard Sears, D-Bennington stated, “This isn’t an issue of whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing — I think it’s wrong — but the question is, do we want kids to be prosecuted, called sex offenders, etc., etc., for consensual conduct? No.”
The consequences of sexting cannot be stressed enough. However, overzealous prosecution of some teen offenders has made people question whether the punishment fits the crime. This may be a new high-tech form of courting; however, children still need to be protected. The best approach may be to have an open communication with your teenager about sexting and phone security and the consequences that come with sending graphic images. Many teens say that they didn’t think of what might happen after they sent the pictures. Another option may be to see what your teen is sending by using a Cell Phone Spy that reads deleted texts. Teen tracking gives you the option of talking to your child before things get out of hand. Even though it may be legal, there are still steps we can take to prevent the emotional and psychological consequences of one bad decision.