Kyra Phillips
CNN News
Subject: Sexting

While the story on Sexting charges against kids in Pennyslvania is at least 6 months old, and Reader's Digest even covered the issue in their May, 2009 issue, several related issues seemed missing in your coverage of the subject today.

Sending flowers can seem passé to a generation raised on camera phones, social networks and the Internet. We grew up in a different era when phone sex was common. Are we going to start wire tapping homes with teenagers?. Texting is their medium and this is, for the most part, flirting. Realize surveys of teenagers consistantly show fellatio as what we considered to be petting.

Before I go on, I totally agree that schools need to get off the "Abstinence Only" education around sexuality and start teaching reality, including the potential dangers of sexting.

Even before that, however, state legislatures must address the subject to give law enforcement realistic laws to work with. One of the most sensible solution comes from Vermont. They introduced a bill that would legalize the consensual exchange of graphic images between two 13-to-18-year-olds, although passing on such images to a third party would remain a crime. That's when it becomes the distribution of child pornography.

Things may have changed, but Pennsylvania originally charged one of the girls who only showed her bra, with the same charge as the girls who went topless. Does Pennsylvania think Victoria Secret catalogues are Pornography?

Second, in many countries, 13-18 year-olds are considered adults able to marry and have families while US kids this age are still seen as children and treated that way.

Also realize how easily this could be used as a revenge tool, much like the false charges of child molestation used against some divorced fathers to keep them from seeing their children. Just.send a nude picture of someone under 18 to anyone and they currently can be charged with being in possession of child pornography in many states, even if they don't forward it to anyone.

Finaly, if you're going to dump the education on already over-burdened parents, give them ideas of what to do and say. Most of them aren't even aware of sexting and have no idea that their children might be part of the 40% who have sent or received such texting. Refer to Reader's Digest as well as Marisa Nightingale, senior adviser to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. I'm sure they would be more than happy to assist CNN in taking a leadership role on this subject.

Gordon Clay

Reference: TheCitizensWhoCare.org/sexting.html