Thursday, April 16, 2009

Let's Talk About Sexting

You may have been out of the country. You may be blissfully unaware of current events (like Alipete). Otherwise, you're aware that Americans have only spoken three words in the past month: "Pirate", "Twitter", and "Sexting". This concerns the latter.


You should already be listening Uhh Yeah Dude. Relax about the show's name. Hear me out. Aside from "30 Rock", Uhh Yeah Dude is the weekly program that I most look forward to experiencing. Matt loves it. Camille loves it. Gavin loves it. Join the winning team.

The most recent Uhh Yeah Dude episode discusses the recent study stating 44% of teenage boys have seen a naked cellphone photo of a classmate. (That specific exchange begins at 20:30 in the show, if you'd like to dive in. I recommend AT LEAST dipping your toe with the energy drink discussion at 12:35.)


The most recent Savage Love article expounds on the topic and makes many good points:
America’s current teen-sex panic—it’s always something—is about “sexting,” teenagers sending each other pictures of their sometimes-underage junk, their frequently underage racks, or their young and dimpled/pimpled rear ends. (Oh, if only we could return to the comparatively innocent and entirely fictional days of “rainbow parties”!) Shortly after the kids went crazy for sexting, the authorities went crazy for prosecuting kids for sexting. Take Phillip Alpert, an 18-year-old in Florida who got mad at his girlfriend and forwarded a digital photo of her naked to dozens of her friends and family members.

This Alpert kid (he had only just turned 18) pulled an asshole move—the gaping asshole of moves—and he owes his girlfriend, her friends, and her family an apology, restitution, and a pound of flesh. (And I mean that pound.) A just, proportionate punishment might involve, say, nude pictures of Alpert being displayed on a billboard in Times Square. For a year. Instead, Alpert was convicted of distributing child porn and “sentenced to five years probation and required by Florida law to register as a sex offender,” CNN reports. “You will find me on the registered sex offender list next to people who have raped children, molested kids, things like that,” Alpert told CNN.

A message for concerned parents, outraged school officials, and teen-sex-obsessed prosecutors: We’re gonna have to either make it illegal for teenagers to own camsphonescomputers, or we’re gonna have to give them drugs to delay the onset of puberty until after they’re 18. If we’re unable or unwilling to do those things—technology is hard to contain, and delaying puberty could have unwelcome health consequences (although it would have spared Levi Johnston’s DNA from the ignominy of mixing with the Palins’)—then the intersection of horny teens and newer technologies is going to require us to rethink the simplistic application of laws that criminalize the possession and distribution of sexty (ugh) pictures, particularly in cases where they were created by teenagers, for teenagers.

Yes, Alpert was a douchebag; yes, it was wrong for him to forward that picture to embarrass and humiliate his girlfriend. But if Alpert is a child pornographer and a sex offender, so are millions of today’s teenagers. They’re all e-mailing each other pictures of their junk. Making an example of one unlucky asshole who got caught isn’t going to stop teenagers from sexting each other any more than making an example of hundreds of thousands of unlucky pot smokers stopped people from smoking pot.

I'd normally just link to this stuff at my Google Shared Items page (see also the sidebar at the right under the "Browsing" heading), but I'm pretty sure no one reads that except Nick.

I think I've mentioned every single friend I have now, so it's time to this bird to fly.


Barbara said...

What's up with that "I think I have mentioned every single friend I have now" comment. It's insulting to all of your people-who-thought-we-were-friends-until-NOW. Good thing for the "it's time to this bird to fly" because now I know you were really fucked up when you wrote this.

The word I get to type to verify I am a person and not a computer spammer thingie is "cooftes" - that's a good one, eh?

dukkillr said...

In Kansas you can actually end up with the unique result that it is better to have had sex with the person, than to see a picture of them naked. Statutory rape laws protect consensual sex between people who (depending on their age) might not be allowed to see naked pictures of each other per pornography distribution laws.

Beautiful country eh?

Gav said...

UYD Rocks! Your T-Shirt is in the mail.

dn said...

I wasn't drunk, Bar, I was just in a hurry to close the laptop and watch TV. And perhaps my words were a clever ruse to solicit a comment from those friends not mentioned?

dn said...

Oh and nice legal tidbit, duk. Seems obvious that the laws need to be tweaked.

And you know what else needs to change? These kids being limited to 2 megapixel cooter photos from crummy cameraphones. It's an OUTRAGE. Get these kiddos some better resolution, stat.

Corinne said...

I was just about to post an outraged comment about our friendship status, but Barbara beat me to it. Nice, Barbara.

Nicolas Frisby said...

I'm so happy that I am a friend.

(My CAPTCHA was "avollyb" - and... I freakin' played volleyball today!)