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Friday, July 10, 2009

States' anti-sexting legislation

Right now in Illinois, a teen who takes and sends a nude self-portrait on a cellphone can "be charged with production and/or manufacturing of child pornography," resulting in "mandatory sex offender registration," Suburban Chicago News reports. So State Rep. Darlene Senger has filed legislation that would keep a sexting case involving a minor out of court. Representative Senger told the News that the aim is accountability appropriate to the age and intent of the sexter (assuming it was neither malicious nor criminal) - e.g., "community service, writing term papers, apology letters, curfew regulations and allowing parents to install software on their cell phones to closely monitor their child." Here's the view from Illinois teens in the Naperville Sun. In Colorado, the CBS4 News headline is "'Sexting' Now The Same As Internet Luring In Colo.", because Colorado is adding cellphones to its child-sexual-exploitation law, but I think CBS4 didn't understand the legislation authors' intent simply to add phone-based photo-sharing to the Web-based variety. Meanwhile, anti-sexting ed is in the works for Colorado youth. Jefferson County District Attorney Scott Storey's office (in the Denver area) is working to develop a "6-to-9-month program that children will have to go through that educates them about boundaries if they're caught sexting." Brochures for school distribution are also in the works. [Vermont recently passed a law that decriminalizes sexting by minors (see "Sexting legislative update" for more).]

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