Since time immemorial members of the youngest generation have managed to create new and unique ways to offend and disgust their predecessors. The most recent of these is “sexting.” Sexting, the practice of sending or posting sexually suggestive text messages and images via cell phone or internet, is a new phenomenon which has recently gained significant momentum. In fact, according to a recent study, almost twenty-percent of all teens have participated. And although this new trend is socially acceptable amongst teenagers, the legislature has been slow, if not absent, in adapting legislation to address it. Almost every state continues to maintain child pornography laws that both criminalize this activity and subject teenage violators to sex offender registration. This has resulted in instances of teens being prosecuted for otherwise normal teenage behavior.
The purpose of this article is to explore the reasoning behind child pornography and sex offender registration statutes, and to analyze its effects on our nation’s youth. The conclusion will be to determine that teens who “sext” should never be charged with a crime, and that if a state decides that they must make underage sexting a crime, teenagers should never be eligible for compulsory sex offender registration.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/michael_parker/1/