Exciting news! Sexting Panic won NCA’s 2016 Diamond Anniversary Book Award.
Here’s my talk from TEDxVienna last month. For the paper this is based on, click here.
Joshua Adair at Notches:
Once they have confronted these items from my personal archive, students struggle to deny that my grandparents were clearly engaging in behaviors similar to their own sexting, only using the technology available to them as best they could. What proves most interesting in this interaction, though, transpires when I highlight the absolute lack of privacy inherent in these exchanges. My grandfather, in defiance of censorship, still clearly expressed his erotic desires to my grandmother, knowing all the while they were likely to be redacted. This, of course, raises the question of whether the presence of a third party in this transaction further energized his desire. Gram, for her part, had no option but to take her film to a processor – and one she knew well, no less.
I wish we could trust prosecutors to never use child pornography charges against teens who sext consensually, but unfortunately we cannot. As we know, in 2009, approximately 7% of all child pornography production arrests are teens who’ve only engaged in consensual sexting. How many of those were youth of color? How many were gay or trans?
This recent case in Louisiana illustrates why we need to decriminalize consensual sexting–it’s no surprise that an African American teenage boy was charged here and the white girl he was sexting with was not. Neither should face any charges for consensual sexting!
Talking to the legendary Susie Bright was both a pleasure and an honor:
The most recent research I’m aware of on how often prosecutors use child pornography laws against teens is a study estimating that 7 percent of people arrested on suspicion of child pornography production in 2009 were teenagers who shared images with peers consensually.
I would love to see some studies of that provide more recent data. And I look forward to future research on how often prosecutors use new sexting misdemeanor laws against consensual sexters and against victims.
In the meantime, a few recent cases illustrate the need for legal reform to child pornography laws, since prosecutors are still trying to apply child porn laws to teenagers:
- Bossier City, Louisiana (April 2016): “17-year-old black boy sexting with 16-year-old white girl and guess who’s charged with child pornography.”
- Fayetteville, North Carolina (Sept 2015): “N.C. just prosecuted a teenage couple for making child porn — of themselves“
- Plymouth, MA (Jul 2015): “Six Plymouth students charged in sexting incident“
- Washington (2014): “In ‘sexting’ case Manassas City police want to photograph teen in sexually explicit manner, lawyers say“
Some high-profile cases that are less recent:
- Harrisburg, PA (2010): ““Sexting” Leads to Child Porn Charges for Teens“
- Tunkhannock, PA (2009): “ACLU Sues Prosecutor Over ‘Sexting’ Child Porn Charges“
I hope to add more cases to this page, so please comment or contact me if you come across others.