America hates naked teenagers. We know this because the government has been campaigning, pretty much since the invention of cell phone cameras, to ban teens from sexting each other. Back in the day, of course, teens just used to have sex, but now they talk and share pictures and that’s much worse.
In an effort to make kids who take pictures of themselves into child pornographers, Florida recently passed legislation that would allow dirty teens 4 chances at this nefarious behavior. The first offense would be treated as a civil matter and come with a fine or community service. Second and third offenses would be misdemeanors and number four would be a full on felony. Sounds great, right?
Unfortunately for Floridians who are frightened of nude teens, the state’s law created a legal paradox. The first offense, as a civil offense, was completely unprosecutable because there is no court in Florida that deals with juvenile civil matters. This was also upheld by an appeals court when the state tried to prosecute a girl who had sent a picture of her girl parts to a classmate at school. There is no court that can hear the case and therefore no one can ever be prosecuted. Nude teens rejoice!
Obviously this is just a mistake in the wording of the law but it’s enough of a mistake that it screws the entire law until such time as the legislation gets reworded and resubmitted. Until that time, naked highschool kids are free to do what highschool kids have done for ages and that’s play a little “show me yours and I’ll show you mine.”
It’s kind of funny to think of so much effort being put into stopping kids from doing this when there’s literally no law against one 16 year old getting naked right in front of another 16 year old. The difference is that maybe, as a picture, it can be shared around more and embarrass the kid? But how is making them into a child pornographer helpful in that situation? It’s like punishing them twice for something that shouldn’t be a crime in the first place. And it also seems to be something of a violation of civil rights. Imagine the government telling you, as an adult, what kind of pictures you were allowed to take of yourself. Of course this issue is dealing specifically with minors, but you can’t make the minors criminals for it. You’re basically making everyone under 18 a walking sex crime. As soon as they get naked, they’re pornographers. Every time a teenager masturbates they’re sex offenders under this logic.
When you were 16 maybe you were the kind of kid who would have sent a naked pic to someone you liked or maybe you weren’t. But were you the kind of kid who would have stopped someone else from doing it if it had nothing to do with you? What happens to us when we grow up? We don’t want kids to drink either, but did you do that when you were a teen? Did you ever party and stay out late? Ever go further than your parents would have approved of with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Ever had a crazy weekend at the beach, or camping, or out with friends? Most of us did. And those that didn’t were the kind of stuck up, sad sacks who have no business telling other people how to live their lives since they never lived their life in the first place.
Should teens be allowed to send nudie pics to each other? Maybe you should just take their cellphones away if they do, that seems a lot more reasonable than turning them into felony sex offenders. Maybe this is way more of a parenting issue than a legal one. But then again, what do we know?