The downside of unlimited texts

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By Christina Cuevas

Text While You Flirt (Joshua Pedroza)

By Christina Cuevas

For those of you who have not been initiated, “sexting” is the new trend among fun and flirtatious text messaging.

This is the act of sending, receiving, or forwarding risqué, photos of yourself or others through your cell phone.

Thanks to technology, photos, e-mail, and videos are easily spread because these features are common to almost every cell phone model.

Sexting images can range from the basic striptease to sexual acts and are being exchanged by not only young adults, but an increasing number of young teens as well.

The practice of posting the most alluring MySpace default picture has surely taken itself a step further.

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy recently published survey results suggesting that 52 percent of teenage girls used sexting as a “sexy present” for their boyfriends.

However enticing sexy presents are, the consequences to such brash behavior are unpredictable and not worth the pleasure.

Statistics show that 44 percent of both teen girls and guys say they’ve sent sexually suggestive messages or images in response to content they received despite the 36 percent of teen girls and 39 percent of teen boys that say it is common for nude or semi-nude photos to get shared with people other than the intended recipient.

Baring it and sharing yourself in what you intend to be an intimate message under some perceived anonymity can easily backfire.

Photos are easily leaked into cyberspace where they orbit among porn sites for who knows how long.

Look at teen idol Miley Cyrus and “High School Musical” star Vanessa Hudgens, both have had racy sexting photos exploited over the internet.

Furthermore, the implosion of teen sexting can now lead to criminal charges.

Recently three girls in Pennsylvania, ages 14 and 15, were charged with spreading child pornography for sexting their boyfriends, and the boyfriends were charged with possession.

Cases like these are popping up all over the country.

What is sad is that if they are convicted, they have to register as sex offenders. This tag will be stuck to their name for up to two decades in some states.

Phillip Alpert, 18, of Florida was sentenced to five years of probation for spreading child pornography after mass e-mailing nude pictures of his 16-year-old ex-girlfriend.

What he did was out of spite and today he regrets his actions. He told the Boston Herald that he lost most of his friends because “they just don’t want to be friends with a sex offender kid.”

Once a week he has to attend sex offender’s class, where he sits among people who have molested children.

Alpert says he is not like the people in his class, but the law says he is.

A 15-year-old girl is faced with child pornography charges in Ohio, but charges will be dropped if she complies with a plan stripping her of cell phone and unsupervised internet use, she also needs to keep up with her curfew.

Wait, what? Now this is a different kind of case, where is the line between the government and the parents?

Who knows, all I can make of it is foolish decisions are no longer acceptable in young adulthood as the government has set up a No Tolerance Zone.

Right when we thought employers were pulling a fast one on us by using MySpace and Facebook to scan for testy behavior of possible hires, now the government is out there to get us as well.

Anyone can get caught I presume, even those of the non promiscuous bunch because under the laws of the United States someone can be guilty of possessing child pornography even if they just receive the image on their phone as an unsolicited picture message.

No one should be charged for receiving a sexting message as one cannot tell the true content of a picture message before it is opened.

True saving it in a picture folder is one thing and passing it on is another, in which legitimate legal action is understood. But recipients can be charged with mere possession.

These teens are not predators and have no intention of producing kiddy porn, let’s not slap them in the face with felonies.

Sexting is incomparable to drinking and driving yet I don’t see anyone let go on a one or two offense sexting rule.

To the people who insist on regarding these actions of similarity to those of pedophiles are extremists with no real perspective on youth or life.

As for the parents, do you really need a court order to put your teenager on restriction?

I wonder what they were thinking when they purchased picture messaging on their teenager’s phones in the first place.

Give it up to today’s youth for taking advantage of technological advances and daily conveniences to make something of a textual misconduct, after all this is the first generation to do so and it surely won’t be the last.

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