Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Child Pornography Coverage Gets Smarter

This AP article has been making the rounds in all the major papers. It's about the same old, same old. Young persons taking nekked pics of themselves and then getting into trouble for it. Major trouble, that is. As in "charged with a felony for child pornography distribution" trouble. I've talked about this before, but I think it is one of the most important issues related to teen sexuality online for a number of reasons. One, it embodies the whole idea that teens are seeking approval and needing attention/to feel special. Two, it shows that teens trust each other (I honestly don't think they believe their pics are going to be plastered over the internet when they send one provocative photo to their (hopeful) sweetie). Three, this phenomenon shows that although youth are acting in similar ways as they always have (see One and Two), technology does make things different and the consequences are more serious as a result. Technology makes things not only move faster but also causes the consequences to be more widespread and permanent.

This is where I think this particular article, unlike many of the others I have read, starts to get smarter. Excerpts:
"It's often so spur of the moment that they're not thinking about where those images might end up"
"I think they just do it to impress their boyfriends. When he breaks up, he 'vents,' in his words, by posting them. He apparently didn't think there was anything wrong with it. He didn't know it was illegal."

These are comments coming from law enforcement. Before, quotes from this perspective were more along the lines of "how can they be so stupid," and "what they are doing is illegal." Now, of course my POV on these folk was only derived from previous quotes, but in these I hear a better understanding of not only the issue, but also how we might hope to tackle it. It's going to be a long time before we manage to incorporate technology into our sex education programs (heck, our programs are barely surviving as it is), but the cry for it is getting louder.

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