Is Sexting That Big of a Deal?

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One of my friends recently got in a hassle with the police because he had sexually explicit pictures of somebody at our school. They gave him a warning, but warned next time that they might arrest him for child pornography, because he was 17.

I thought about this for a while, and I thought to myself, is sexting that big of a deal? What’s the danger? Who the hell cares?

 
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Only a teenager would say “who cares?”

 
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The danger is he has sexually explicit pictures of a minor on a distribution machine. Therefore it could quite easily be concluded that he is a pedophile distributing child pornography to others. The material may or may not have been gathered by consent as well (especially since legally those below the age of maturity cannot give consent), bringing sexual relations with unconsenting parties into the equation.

Once a person has such material on another, they can do significant harm with it. As it can turn up anywhere, be distributed far and wide. This can cause mortification, shame, even clinical depression on the part of the one being ‘named and shamed’ in such a way.

It has lasting consequences, way beyond whatever prank your friend thought he was pulling. In many ways the effect on the victim has strong parallels with physical sexual assault, as the same feelings of filth, overwhelming horror, and shame are present, albeit perhaps not as intense.

Thus he is treated by the authories as a sort of sexual predator, which by his actions, technically he is. He is very lucky to have gotten off with just a caution this time. Next time, he’ll be looking at jail in a sexual offender’s unit.

 
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It’s not just a problem for young folk, but older ones too.

Doing it can easily cost people jobs, families, university places, friends, membership of the giant penis club…

 
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Why would you let anyone take a picture of you naked anyway? Unless your friend was creepily peeking into that kids bathroom window, it was the kids fault.

That said, NEITHER should be doing anything like that, but your friend should’ve gotten jail time.

 
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Originally posted by SWATLLAMA:

Why would you let anyone take a picture of you naked anyway? Unless your friend was creepily peeking into that kids bathroom window, it was the kids fault.

Teens of both sexes are quite gullible. She really loves him, or thinks she does. He’s asked her for a picture of her naked, as teens are wont to do. She’s been a bit silly and complied, sending it to him.

This is where it gets nasty.

He’s breached her trust, showing the picture of her naked body to people – both people who don’t know her, and people who interact with her on a daily basis (her peers at school). By doing this he is in breach of the trust between partners, he is actively humiliating her in ways that won’t fade – its as if he was dragging her naked through the streets by the effect it’ll have on her when she finds out, and everyone who has seen the picture, will likely remember it when they look at her from now on.

Finally, by the very nature of what he is doing by showing others, he is now willfully distributing child pornography.

That is the bit that is extremely likely to land him in jail. If your friend was at work and not at school, it would have certainly gotten him fired as well – employers tend to tke a dim view of their employees distributing child porn. As it is, he’s lucky the school did not suspend him, for the exact same reason.

 
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I don’t see anything in OP’s post suggesting that the person with the pictures was the one who took them, or that he in any way was distributing them to others. It doesn’t even specify that he has asked for the pictures. Assuming he did to apply blame is just wrong.

 
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If he was showing them to other people, then he was distributing porn. That’s simple mechanics. He certainly would not have been the one to take them – as I pointed out in my post above, if you bother to actually read it.

 
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That’s a big if, which we know nothing of in this particular story.

Did I say that you were the one saying that he was taking the pictures? For all we know, he could have been, but assuming he did is wrong.

 
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If he was being “hassled” by the police, that means the police knew about it. Which most likely means he was showing these pictures to people. There’s almost no details here, though, so it’s hard to say.

Originally posted by vikaTae:

The danger is he has sexually explicit pictures of a minor on a distribution machine. Therefore it could quite easily be concluded that he is a pedophile distributing child pornography to others.

OK now, a person in high school cannot be called a “pedophile” because they have pictures of another person in high school. That’s just crazy. Even if it meets the legal definition of child porn.

Thus he is treated by the authories as a sort of sexual predator, which by his actions, technically he is. He is very lucky to have gotten off with just a caution this time. Next time, he’ll be looking at jail in a sexual offender’s unit.

Apparently the justice system has no sense of scale. I bet the police gave him a warning because they knew that if they DID charge him, it would ruin his life forever, because many “child predator” laws fail to make the proper distinction between a teenager with pictures of another teenager on his phone and a serial child molester. If we’re going to call this guy a sexual predator and pedophile, those words cease to have their true meaning.

Not that what he did wasn’t wrong. It was. I’m just asking that it be put into proper context. Cases like this are not the reason we have sex offender registries, and he should not be put on one based on what we know about the case.

He’s breached her trust, showing the picture of her naked body to people – both people who don’t know her, and people who interact with her on a daily basis (her peers at school).

Do we know this? For all we know, the phone was confiscated by a teacher and that teacher snooped around until the pictures were found. (That may be one reason why he wasn’t charged – concerns with how the evidence was obtained.) Or maybe the person who sent him the pictures got caught and named him. Or maybe he showed one person and that person called the police. Or maybe he sent a copy to everyone at school. From the information given, we don’t know. Certainly the more people he showed, the more serious his actions.

Finally, by the very nature of what he is doing by showing others, he is now willfully distributing child pornography.

What about the person who sent him the pictures in the first place? Would that person – the “victim” – not ALSO be guilty of both distributing and CREATING child porn? It would be a double standard to charge this guy and not the person who created and sent the pictures in the first place.

 
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OP, your mate is in possession of child pornography. That should be all there is to say. However, the person who your friend was sexting should receive the same charges too. (Although society/police caring about NOT men having child pornography, not likely aye.)

 
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Now that I actually look at Wisconsin law, it DOES make a difference if the person possessing those images is under 18. It drops it from a class D felony (a fine not to exceed $100,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 25 years, or both) to a class I felony (a fine not to exceed $10,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 3 years and 6 months, or both.) To me it still seems excessive to make something like this a felony when it’s between teenagers, but it’s quite not as excessive as I thought.

The creator of the images would apparently be guilty of sexual exploitation of a child, which would ordinarily be a class C felony (fine not to exceed $100,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 40 years, or both), but drops to a class F felony (fine not to exceed $25,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 12 years and 6 months, or both) if under 18.

 
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In it’s most general sense, no, sexting is not wrong. If people want to text eachother, pictures of their junk, they should be allowed to.

But as vikaTae said, there is a muddiness to the water of predators.

 
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If people want to text eachother, pictures of their junk, they should be allowed to.

They seem to be blissfully unaware of the possible consequences, however.
Which means “Should we inform them?” or “Should we prevent it?”

 
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Originally posted by TheAznSensation:
If people want to text eachother, pictures of their junk, they should be allowed to.

They seem to be blissfully unaware of the possible consequences, however.
Which means “Should we inform them?” or “Should we prevent it?”

We can make the information readily available, and inform minors (Do they really listen though?). But other than that, I don’t see the problem.

 
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Do they really listen though?

Well, for a lot of people, not really.
But there has been statistical proof that educational programs somewhat benefit decision making.

 
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Originally posted by TheAznSensation:
Do they really listen though?

Well, for a lot of people, not really.
But there has been statistical proof that educational programs somewhat benefit decision making.

I agree. I don’t want to paint everyone with the same stroke. People are free to make their own decisions. There are potential dangers for minors (as well as adults) of texting their junk to supposed strangers. I mean.. look at Brett Farve. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide. I think sexting is generally looked down upon by society, and is against social norms. But, if someone wants to partake in this risky behavior, nothing should be stopping them from doing so. People should however, be aware of the risks, they are in fact, taking, by sexting.

 
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Random kids just keeping pictures for themselves isn’t a big of a deal to me, but when they start showing lots of people and/or distributing it, it steadily becomes a big deal.

 
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Of course it is.