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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Teens and Sexting in Illinois

Posted by Dan Savage on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 9:47 AM

It's an improvement...

Teens who forward or post online racy pictures of their underage classmates would get juvenile court supervision that could result in mandatory counseling or community service, under legislation sent to Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday. The measure aims to educate teens about the dangers of "sexting" while modernizing state statutes for the Internet age. Under current Illinois law, teens caught with nude photos of other juveniles can be charged as sex offenders, lawmakers said.

Even better:

The Illinois bill, which passed 52-0, doesn't penalize youths who send or receive the risque photos but choose not to distribute them widely. It applies to kids under 18 who use computers or cell phones to distribute the pictures of minors, and the court supervision amounts to a scolding.

In most cases where teenagers have been prosecuted for "sexting," it was the kid who took the original picture—almost always a girl—who was prosecuted, not the kid or kids who maliciously forwarded and distributed the image. Some teenage girls have been placed on sex-offender registries for sending pictures of themselves to their then-boyfriends. More galling: the kid who took a picture and shared it—perhaps foolishly—with one kid, usually a boyfriend, is often punished by her school for "creating a disruption" when it was the malicious fucksticks who passed the pic around that created the disruption.

This law recognizes that kids whose pictures are passed are the ones who have been victimized. Good for Illinois.

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