Sexting: Lawmakers Still Don’t Understand Teenagers

From the Huffington Post:

Sexting: Schools, Legislators Debate Punishments For Offenders: The popularity of sexting has sent parents, school officials and legislators scrambling to figure out how to address the issue.

…The New York Department of Education has also moved to ban sexting. The rules would mean 90-day suspensions for students caught sexting. Students could get in trouble not just for messages sent during school, but at home as well.

If you give teenagers phones with cameras on them, they’ll send naked pictures to each other. They’re teenagers and are exploring their sexuality, largely in a complete vacuum because society just can’t let go of the institutionalized ABSENCE of practical sex education.

We will never control the teenage sex drive with laws. Period. Anyone fool enough to think otherwise hasn’t been properly laid in far too long.

Educate them. Actually TEACH them about sexuality, instead of leaving them to learn from the internet because you’re too intimidated (by the most natural act of our human existence) to talk about it with the children for whom you proclaim love.

Prohibitionism won’t work any better with sexting than it does with alcohol, because it’s just another societal hypocrisy.

“Don’t do this, kids…this is BAD. We’ll put you in jail and stuff. When you’re a little older it’s OK, but not NOW. When you turn 18 you go through a magical transformation and suddenly naked pictures are OK. Then when you’re 21 booze is magically OK.

It seems all our learned lawmakers are too blind or feeble-minded to realize the most basic truth of adolescence. Teenagers most desperately want one thing: To be treated like adults and to do adult things. Age based prohibitionism is like waving a red cape in front of a bull.

It’s why the US has horrendously elevated rates of alcoholism in comparison to the rest of the civilized world. We prohibit instead of teaching. We say, “It’s OK, just not for YOU. You’re not a grown-up yet.” It’s a bullshit contradiction that can only possibly make sense to those too old to have any meaningful memory of what it’s like to be young.

This is simply a continuation of an old legal hypocrisy. In most states the age of sexual consent is 16, yet if a 16-year-old takes a picture of themselves having sex they’re producing child pornography and can be charged with a felony. To this date no one has offered me even a half-baked explanation as to how it can be illegal to photograph a legal act.

The New York School Board is going to suspend students for 90 days based on text messages they sent at home? Really? Do we even have constitution anymore? I know she’s worn and tattered, with a bunch of eraser marks from the last couple decades, but I really thought there was some shred of it left. No school board has that sort of power, and to insinuate otherwise is hubris worthy of public floggings.

Kudos to those such as Pam Lampitt for attempting to use an educational solution. Unfortunately, before we can have any real reform in the way America handles sex education, we’re going to have to get some for our lawmakers; and that’s an uphill battle if ever there was one.


Commenting area

  1. saltydogg087 February 22, 2011 at 6:19 am · · Reply

    I’ve felt the same way about the age thing myself. Laws will always discriminate in one way or another. Underage consumption has become ingrained in our culture, as is male lust for raunchy photos via text. Guys already have to check a girl’s id to feel safe. But hell, if the pics are sent to your phone, there is no way to delete the pic without viewing it first.

    But need for sex education reform is a big issue. I like take “The Girl Next Door” had on this much needed change. Show everyone the parts, give them a condom and a practice arena. That way the teens don’t resort to screwing in a car in an alleyway.

    As for alcohol, Four Loko had to drop the caffeine content of their drink because too many amateur’s tried drinking multiples in one sitting. Just like a kid with a penny and a light socket… they have to learn sometime.

    I met a man the other day who hit a (college) kid who ran out in front of his car. Apparently, the kid was running from walmart security because he stole alcohol.

    Did you know the definition of binge drinking is 5+ drinks in one sitting by men and 4+ by women? Over half of my coworkers do that at least three times a week. Are these numbers reasonable?

    The problem with the alcohol laws are that they’re created by people who aren’t heavy drinkers.

    And then there is the incense some people are smoking. The incense is legal to burn but it “IS NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION.” So some of it is legal, some isn’t. Then Red Labs discovered that most of these products contain some variant of JWH, a psychoactive additive similar to THC in the “old school” illegal stuff.

    So there is a drug test for something that is still being sold in some head shops (In some states)? The DEA said something about banning some JWH’s for a year or something, but keeps bumping the date forward.

    It seems some people are resorting to something in need of further testing rather than the real deal because of a drug test. Can’t the government just legalize, tax, and distribute the herbs already?

    It’s a plant. It makes you happy, hungry, horny, and sleepy. How much trouble can it be if we teach our kids to take a condom when they go drink and smoke, and to wear it before they start screwing?

    • A lot of what you said here is picked whole cloth from the back of my head. This kind of nonsense is what inspired me to address the sexual angles with the podcast in the first place, but a week doesn’t go by without me being tempted to start a separate show about the broad-reaching negative effects of society’s hypocrisy regarding anything that makes us smile.

    • Thank you! For a very long time, I’ve mentioned these kinds of things, which I think direly need to be addressed, only to find that everybody else seems to think that there’s no real cause for concern.

      These types of issues, when handled “unwisely,” can ruin (or at least over-complicate) somebody’s life before it even begins. Somehow it seems that everybody thinks that discussion of these “taboos” should be limited to “Do not do this!” Kids aren’t stupid — if Mom and Dad (or their friends’ moms and dads) can smoke and drink and have sex, and they seem like successful/happy people, why would the consequences be any different for the kids? You might say, “Well, their parents know how to do these things responsibly.” I would ask, “How would somebody learn to do these things responsibly?”

      Education. If they don’t have an adult that they can get that education from (and thus, be safe), they will either learn from another slightly-more-experienced kid, or they will experiment. If you say that they shouldn’t do those things anyway… Remember that you probably should have listened to your parents more, too. So you could learn from their wisdom and avoid mistakes. If abstinence is the answer, give a satisfying overview of the topic (and some differing opinions), and follow that with persuasive logical grounds for why abstinence is best. Only then would there be a good likelihood that they will follow your advice.

      Anyway… what I’m saying is AMEN! It’s refreshing to see some others that have actually put some thought into it!

  2. The best part of this for me is the 90 day suspension. I don’t have to go to school for 3 months cos I exchanged naked pics with a girl? Thats awesome!

    • I always thought suspension was fairly ridiculous as a punishment and I still do. Maybe that’s because I actually remember what it’s like to be a teenager =D

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