Consensual sexting by young teens now is legal in New Mexico

Gov. Susana Martinez reluctantly has signed child porn legislation that, incredibly, allows consensual "sexting" by 14-to-18-year-olds to be exempt from prosecution under child abuse laws.

Ironically, the law aims to impose tougher penalties on the producers, distributors and possessors of child pornography--something everyone seems to agree is a good idea.

But on the way to strengthening the penalties, enough legislators were persuaded that teenage sexting--the texting of each other on smart devices sexually explicit pictures of themselves-- ought to be protected from prosecution for this, err, what we are supposed believe is an innocent, harmless  and natural act.

Reported New York magazine in an article, "Sext away, Teens of New Mexico,"

 "Kids will be kids, and they’re going to make mistakes," the bill's author, state senator George Muñoz, said to the Guardian. "You can’t punish them for the rest of their lifetime with a charge of child pornography … if they’re consensually sending photos back and forth.” You can't stop adolescents from following their hormones, but, concerned New Mexico parents, you can at least start keeping up with sexting app trends.

Martinez, a two-term Republican, was troubled by the provision, yet signed it because she didn't havesexting a line-item veto to yank it out of an otherwise desirable bill.

Thus, giving entirely new meaning to the childhood expression of "I'll show you mine if you show me yours."

Actually, it's not so funny.  This can go awry and damage children--yes, they are still children--in so many ways. And because our culture has slipped into a slime pit, it's probably necessary to list just a few of them: Contributes to sexual addiction. Humiliates children who have later regrets. Enables sleazebag ex-boyfriends to spread damaging pictures of former girlfriends. Encourages promiscuity and teen pregnancy. Increases peer pressure to participate. Encourages bullying.

The Washington Post recently reported "How Colorado teenagers hid a massive nude sexting ring from parents and teachers." In response, the Chicago Tribune editorialized against the legalization of teenage sexting, while acknowledging the practice.

We heard some good advice the other day from Maggie Meier, a theology teacher at Trinity High School in River Forest who visited the Tribune Editorial Board with a group of students.

"Expecting blind obedience to authority doesn't work," Meier said. "We need to explain why the law exists, why it is illegal. We need to explain that we're trying to protect you, not trying to ruin your life. If we don't give them a reason, there's going to be a large percentage of kids who are going to push back, saying the adults just don't want us to have fun."

The thinking in New Mexico and reportedly a growing number of other states is that if parents can't control their children's moral and ethical education, then we might as well let them go hog wild.

It's sad.

 

Read why Americans need to learn about the nation's most ignored war.

Find out what freelance editorial services I can provide for you.

Want to be notified by email when I post? Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

Comments

Leave a comment
  • Sexting by adolescents may be a problem, but is punishing them as felons the solution? Sending the child to prison for up to nine years and requiring him or her to register as a sex offender for the rest of his or her life?

  • One would hope for discretion, but I think that the law should stay on the books for the mosts egregious and damaging acts, even if committed by minors. We do have a separate judicial system for minors, after all. If the law doesn't allow for discretion in prosecution and sentencing, then it should be amended to do so. But leaving victims of sexting with no protections at all isn't right.

  • fb_avatar

    this sure won't be a problem....nobody has ever reposted a sext to the internet...so your bra pic will never be seen by anyone excect the guy you sent it to and never be seen by a potential boss

Leave a comment

  • Advertisement:
  • Advertisement:
  • ChicagoNow is full of win

    Welcome to ChicagoNow.

    Meet our bloggers,
    post comments, or
    pitch your blog idea.

  • Visit my new website

    I'm a freelance writer, editor and author. I can help you with a wide variety of projects. Check out my new website at www.dennisbyrne.net

  • Subscribe to The Barbershop

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Dennis Byrne’s Facebook Fan Page

  • Like me on Facebook

  • Our National Debt

  • Twitter

  • Tags

  • Recent Comments

    • There is something going on here and we need to have it for rushmyessay. I think that if people know…
      Read the story | Reply to this comment
    • Maybe a Republican put it there, so you would surmise that a Democrat put it there and write a…
      Read the story | Reply to this comment
    • Thanks for sharing. The upkeep price should even be taken care of earlier than taking any resolution. Best Battery For…
      Read the story | Reply to this comment
    • According to Scott Galloway, the whole search was a big scam. The real reason for Amazon's split decision was Bezos's…
      Read the story | Reply to this comment
    • Illinois law does allow sample ballots in polling places and voting booths, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.…
      Read the story | Reply to this comment
  • /Users/dennisby/Desktop/trailer.mp4
  • Latest on ChicagoNow

  • Advertisement: