Some state lawmakers are working to outlaw “sexting” among teens.
A pair of bills were pre-filed last month in the House and Senate, prohibiting minors ages 12-17 from electronically transmitting photographs depicting themselves or other teens “in a state of sexual activity or a state of sexually explicit nudity.”
Rep. Joan Brady, R-Richland, who filed the House bill, said she wants to raise awareness among teens and their parents about the dangers of sending nude, semi-nude or sexually explicit photos as a cell phone text message or e-mail.
The bills would not prohibit sexually explicit, word-only messages between teens.
“This is a case of technology moving faster than parents’ awareness,” Brady said. “I don’t think a lot of parents are as aware as they should be of what their children are doing on their cell phones. This can be dangerous, detrimental. There have been cases of children committing suicide over this. We want to encourage awareness, as much for parents as for kids, and help them understand what sexting is and its dangers.”
In 2009, two cases gained national attention when teenage girls committed suicide because they were bullied after sexting. In one case, an 18-year-old in Ohio hanged herself after she sent nude photos of herself to a boyfriend, who forwarded them on to other high school girls.
Under Brady’s bill, teens who send photo “sexts” could face a civil fine up to $100 and may be required to take an educational course. Those who fail to pay the fine or complete the course could have their driving privileges curtailed to only driving to school, work and church for up to 90 days.
“It’s more of an awareness legislation than a punishment,” Brady said.
The S.C. chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said the bill goes too far.
To read the complete article, visit www.thestate.com.