Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Woman to woman: Don’t label frisky teens perverts

Good news! Our courts are going after child pornographers with a vengeance, using technology like cell phones and social networking sites to locate and trap these heinous criminals and throw the book at them.

The only glitch in this fight for justice? The “scum” appear to be our own kids.

Youthful hormones and high-tech communication have dovetailed as of late, and “sexting” is the result – racy pictures that teens send each other via cell phone.

Think this dangerous and vile behavior is part of an edgy subculture? A recent survey by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy claims that 20 percent of our teens are involved in sexting activities.

“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity,” Einstein said, making me wonder if he saw this one coming.

I’m shocked by how widespread this activity has become and grateful to live in a community filled with adults who are “on it” in a big way, from academic and home life consequences to strict monitoring of teen behavior.

Still, I’m more shocked by the way the law has swooped in to label young, impulsive teenagers as child pornographers.

Really? That’s how we fix this? A boy in Texas is arrested on child pornography charges for simply having a racy photo on his phone.

A 14-year-old New Jersey girl posts explicit pictures of herself on MySpace and could be forced to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.

Even Maureen Kanka, Megan’s mother, is appalled. “This shouldn’t fall under Megan’s Law in any way, shape or form,” the mother of raped and murdered Megan Kanka declared, understanding that the MySpace exhibitionist needs help, not an avalanche of legal restrictions that will ruin her life forever.

Legislators in Vermont are trying to stop the madness, creating a bill that would remove the most serious legal consequences for sexting kids, such as a lifetime on the state’s Internet sex offender registry.

Unfortunately, Vermont’s governor is disinclined to support such a bill, feeling that decisions about these charges should be left up to prosecutors.

Either Gov. Jim Douglas hasn’t been reading the same stories I have, or he thinks the best way to deal with impulsive teens is to brand them child pornographers and sex offenders.

Makes me kind of wonder if it’s our legal system that has exceeded our humanity …

Andrea Sarvady (w2wcolumn@gmail.com) is a writer and educator specializing in counseling and a married mother of three.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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