Sexting Is Naive—But Cops Calling It Child Porn Is Stupid
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2009 3:47 PM CST
Parents listen to a seminar conducted on cybercrime.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The recent—or recently discovered—“sexting” epidemic has produced a reasoned response from educators, and a wild overreaction from police,” Dahlia Lithwick writes on Slate. “Schools are enacting what amounts to a don't-ask-don't-tell policy” on teenagers sending out naked pictures of themselves, and others, she writes. But cops are hauling in high-schoolers on child pornography charges. “Cyber-humiliation shouldn't be grounds for a very real and possibly lifelong criminal record.”

“These kids are not predators,” Lithwick continues, “and have no intention of producing or purveying kiddie porn.” Guilty only of being “brash and sexy,” they are being prosecuted across the land. It's unfortunate that these "shared" photos often get out of control. But the idea that kids must be prosecuted, Lithwick writes, “because they are too dumb to understand that their seemingly innocent acts can hurt them, goes beyond paternalism.”