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Wood 1 Jordan wood Mrs. Huff English 11 22 May 2009 Sexting: Legal or Not? You aren’t sure if you want to go to the party. You usually don’t do things like that, but your friends are pressuring you. You want to fit in so you agree to go. You get there and everyone is drinking so you have a few. Next thing you know you are at school the next day and everyone has a picture of you on their phone. In the picture you’re naked and with some boy you’ve never met. You’re embarrassed, hurt, and terrified. You have just become one of the thousands of victims of sexting. Sexting is sending or receiving naked pictures through texting or posting them on the internet. Some people want to make sexting legal for people under eighteen. But should sexting be legal? If sexting were legalized, who would get to make the rules about what is too far and what isn’t? What about the victims who are hurt and sometimes lead to kill themselves? And, if there is no punishment, the problem that is sexting would only grow worse. First of all, if it were to be legalized where do we draw the line? The water is simply too murky. One news article quotes


Wood 2 student Stefanie Garcia, who claims, “Sexting happens all the time. Girls in underwear, guys completely naked, muscle pictures, stuff like that” ("Vermont Lawmakers”). The girl makes it sound like girls in there underwear, naked guys, and just pictures of guys muscles are all the same, but their not. A picture of a naked person in a compromising situation is completely different then a picture of a guys abs, which we see on TV commercials and different places everyday. So if sexting were legal how would we know where to draw the line? Would people in underwear be ok? How about bathing suits then? Do you have to be completely naked? Everyone feels differently about how much of their body has to be showing for it to be embarrassing. I wouldn’t want a person I didn’t even know to have a picture of me in my bathing suit, or my underwear, or naked so sexting should just be illegal all around. Another article by ABC News states, “These days the disturbing new trend in teenage flirting is sending nude or semi-nude photos from cell phone to cell phone: instead of "texting," they call it called "sexting." “(Stone) This article says the word “semi-nude”. Well what does that mean exactly? I think semi nude means people in their underwear, but someone else may think a guy with just his shirt off is semi-nude. Who gets to decide? And if sexting were legal, would semi-nude (what ever that means) be ok? I


Wood 3 think not, but someone else probably feels differently. If sexting were illegal, there would be no arguing about it. People Magazine’s website tells a story of two boys who did nothing more than open a message on their phones at school: “To the shock of the boys and their families, authorities initially said they were weighing whether to charge the teens and four other boys who had received the photo with trafficking in child pornography, meaning they could face jail time and having to register as sex offenders.” (Hewitt) So where do we draw the line here? The boys in this article did nothing more than innocently open a text, not even knowing what was inside, and faced jail time for it. So is simply having the picture sent to you a crime? You didn’t choose to receive the image. How many people does a person have to send a picture to before its bad? The water is too murky here as well. Who would get to decide what is ok? Not only would it be too unclear on the rules if sexting were legal, but it’s extremely embarrassing to the victims. One article by MSNBC tells, “The girls were harassing her, calling her a slut and a whore. She was miserable and depressed, afraid even to go to school. Two months later, Jessica Logan hanged herself in her bedroom. She was 18.” (Celizic) This is a perfect example of how hurtful and embarrassing sexting is to the victims targeted by it. Jessica Logan was harassed to the


Wood 4 point she thought she had nothing to live for. CBS News quotes Younger, who says, "If a boy meets a girl or has a girlfriend on summer break he comes back and shows all his boys the [naked] pictures he's been sent. No one gives it that much thought really." (Sexting) Yeah, the boys who are showing the pictures of the girls off at school may not think much about it, but to the poor girls whose pictures are being showed to everyone it’s embarrassing. NPR quotes Ed Nielson, who tells, “An anonymous envelope with Brooke's naked photo inside was left in the mailbox of Bothell High School's vice principal. They sat me down at the table and they said, 'We have pictures of your daughter and another girl naked, do you want to see them?' "(Walt) How would you like it if your naked photo was sent to your principal and then seen by your parents? That would be enough to make anyone depressed and think about taking their own life. Sexting is hurtful, but if there was no punishment for it the problem would only spiral more out of control. It needs to be illegal so less people will do it. Dayton Dailey News tells of teens punished for sexting: “A Warren County Juvenile Court judge on Monday also sentenced one of the teens — a 15-yearold boy — to 30 days of house arrest. The other teen, a 15year-old girl, must write a paper detailing the dangers of


Wood 5 "sexting”. Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel said the Mason High School teens admitted to misdemeanor charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. She says the sentence sends a message to other teens that texting is a serious issue that can have long lasting consequences.” (Associated Press) These kids who were caught sexting were punished with community service, house arrest, and have to write papers. This would make other teens not want to participate in sexting if they knew they were going to be punished too. People Magazine tells: “But school officials, alerted to the photo by two students, sprang into action. They seized Hunt's phone, and the police arrived. It turned out the photo had been taken by another male student of his 13-yearold girlfriend, who had allegedly posed for the shot.” (Hewitt) I bet if teens saw other teens getting their phones seized and the police called to school like these boys over sexting they would be a little wearier of doing it themselves. The Article by People mentioned earlier stated: “To the shock of the boys and their families, authorities initially said they were weighing whether to charge the teens and four other boys who had received the photo with trafficking in child pornography, meaning they could face jail time and having to register as sex offenders.” (Hewitt) I know it makes me scared to participate in sexting if I knew I


Wood 6 would be charged with trafficking child pornography and have to register as a sex offender for the rest of my life, and I’m sure other teens feel the same way. Sexting is a fairly new topic of debate. With our advancements in technology, we’ve acquired the ability to send and receive messages and pictures, and post them on the internet in seconds. Being the humans that we are we’re using our abilities for our own sinful lusts. Some people will argue that sexting shouldn’t be a crime if the people doing it are all minors, but they are crazy. Sexting is a real problem. It’s extremely hurtful and embarrassing to the young men and women that fall victim to it. Sexting needs to be illegal, because if it wasn’t who would decide what is going to far and what isn’t? It needs to be illegal so less people will do it. It needs to be illegal because it’s out of control.


Wood 7 Works Cited Celizic, Mike. "Her teen committed suicide over ‘sexting’ Parenting & Family." Breaking News, Weather, Business, Health, Entertainment, Sports, Politics, Travel, Science, Technology, Local, US & World News- msnbc.com. 6 Mar. 2009. MSNBC. 21 May 2009 <http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29546030/>. Hewitt, Bill. "The Dangers of 'Sexting' - Sex Scandals, Real People Stories : People.com." People.com : The #1 Celebrity Site on the Web. 30 Mar. 2009. People Magazine. 21 May 2009 <http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,202711 81,00.html>. ""Sexting" Shockingly Common Among Teens - CBS News." CBS News - Breaking News Headlines: Business, Entertainment & World News. 15 May 2009. CBS News. 21 May 2009 <http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/01/15/national/m ain4723161.shtml>. Stone, Gigi. "'Sexting' Teens Can Go Too Far - ABC News." Online news, breaking news, feature stories and more ABC News. 13 Mar. 2009. ABC News. 20 May 2009


Wood 8 <http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/WorldNews/story? id=6456834>. The Associated Press. "Ohio judge sentences 2 teens for sexting." Dayton Daily News | Dayton, Ohio, News and Information. 12 May 2009. Dayton Dailey News. 21 May 2009 <http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/ohionews/ohio-judge-sentences-2-teens-for-sexting116012.html>. "Vermont Lawmakers Look To Legalize Teen 'Sexting' wcbstv.com." New York News, Weather, Sports & Traffic - WCBSTV.com. 14 Apr. 2009. WCBSTV. 20 May 2009 <http://wcbstv.com/technology/sexting.vermont.teens.2.9 83956.html>. Walt, Chana Joffe. "'Sexting': A Disturbing New Teen Trend? : NPR." NPR : National Public Radio : News & Analysis, World, US, Music & Arts. 21 May 2009. NPR. 21 May 2009 <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php? storyId=101735230>.


Sexting: Legal or Not?