So-called “sexting” is such a disastrously bad idea that I shouldn’t even have to explain why it’s a bad idea. Here is the thing: The “sexting” participant provides his or her partner with evidence — a permanent digital record of text messages and images — that the partner can then use as he or she pleases. Any young woman who sends nude selfies to a guy can just presume that he will immediately show the photos to all his friends. They always do. That’s why guys ask for nude photos from girls, in order to display them to their buddies as trophies. Any guy who asks for a nude photo is a creep, and any girl who sends a nude photo is a fool. The fact that we now have laws against so-called “revenge porn” (i.e., the unauthorized distribution of nude photos and/or videos, typically as revenge against an ex-girlfriend) does not change the reality that only a fool would ever send a nude photo of herself to a guy, and it is not “victim-blaming” to say so, no matter what any feminist tries to tell you.While I lean to Dr. Reynolds point of view (I believe laws could be written intelligently to distinguish between sexting between teens and underage porn) it's probably too much to ask of our politicians.
“But Stacy, all the kids are doing it!”
No, they are not, and that kind of peer-pressure excuse is part of the problem. Responsible adults do not endorse foolish behavior simply because it is common behavior, and “sexting” is foolish behavior. Even if you did want to engage in reckless promiscuity, it would be foolish to create a permanent digital record of such behavior.
. . .
Professor Glenn Reynolds comments: “They’re too young to consent to naked pictures, but not too young to have their lives ruined for doing so.” Such is the libertarian reaction, but this is one of those instances (like the Kaitlyn Hunt case) where my social conservative impulse overrides every other concern. At first glance, the prosecution of teenagers for such behavior may seem unnecessarily draconian, yet we have to consider the alternative. What would be the consequences of a libertarian laissez-faireattitude toward minors producing what is, as a matter of law, illegal child pornography?
In the meantime, teens would be wise to heed Stacy's advice, and just not do it. But then, teens are not noted for their wisdom.
You do have to wonder about the circumstances of cases where this is actually brought to the courts; what did that particular teen do to become the target of a case important enough for police to pursue, and prosecutors to take seriously.