First, I want to say that I was completely unaware of the concept of ‘sexting’ until I started hearing about it on the news so I don’t know what these statistics of ‘1 in 5 teenagers have sexted’ are all about.
Second, I don’t agree with taking naked/half-naked pictures of yourself and sending it to people; I have no idea what would possess people to do that.
Now that being said, I strongly disagree with this law that the government is creating (or has already created, I’m not sure) that is basically criminalizing sexting (correct me if I’m wrong but I’m pretty sure I heard there’s jailtime as well as a fine because sexting is being considered child pornography).
So, if I disagree with the act, why do I disagree with banning it? Well think about the history of laws and bans that actually make sense. Why ban smoking in public places? Because it negatively affects other people without their consent. Why ban public drunkenness? Because it negatively affects other people without their consent. Why ban sexual assault or child pornography (and by that I mean, other people taking pictures of naked children without their consent)? Same thing. You see, those things all have to do with a person being affected who does not want to be affected. That makes sense.
Now, take this sexting business. A teenager makes the choice to take a picture of themself naked to send to a beau. They certainly know the web well enough to know that they are taking the risk that lots of other people will be able to see it. If they don’t take that into consideration, they are going to be negatively affected when others do see the picture. The thing is, they are the only ones who will be negatively affected (and don’t give me that ‘their family, their friends etc.’ because shame and embarassment on their parts don’t count). So, they make a choice and they get to deal with the consequences.
So what happens if/when this is criminalized? Well, there’s suddenly a new precedent in courts and parliament. Suddenly, it’s okay to take away a personal choice if it is perceived to be ‘not good’ for people. That’s a really slippery slope guys. I mean, where do we draw the line? What will separate the choices we’re allowed to make from the choices we’re not? With this sexting case as precedent, I’m sure that there are many other things that the government will be able to justify criminalizing. Personally, this freaks me out.