Teen sexting is now illegal – does that scare you?

Starting today, “sexting” is illegal in Florida.

I’m pretty sure, this is just the beginning of a national movement.

As a parent, I’m a little scared about the law.

Florida’s new state law, which passed in June, bans teens from sending nude or racy photos to each other by mobile phone.

I worry that kids just don’t understand the severe consequences when they hit send. The first offense is a non-criminal violation punishable by eight hours of community service or a $60 fine. The second strike is a first-degree misdemeanor. I would hope a kid wakes up to the impact sexting could have on his entire life by the third offense because that’s considered a felony and carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.

What parents should know is that the new law actually softens punishment for teen offenders who in the past were prosecuted under child porn laws and labeled as sex offenders. Imagine that hitting the send button on your phone could get you labeled as a sex offender the rest of your life. That’s scary stuff!

In 2008, an Orlando-area 18-year-old boy was charged with sending child pornography after sending naked photos of his 16-year-old girlfriend to friends and family by phone. He was sentenced to four years probation and now is a registered sex offender.

I wondering…shouldn’t we be teaching teens not to pose nude for their love interests? There’s something just as wrong with taking the photos as distributing them. Now, beyond the embarrassment, there’s the real possibility of jail time.

Parents, do you think making “sexting” illegal is a good or bad thing for teens?

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1 Comment

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