Lawmakers Try To Curtail 'Sexting'

Growing Trend: Teens Texting Nude Photos To Classmates

It’s the more provocative form of texting now known as "sexting," the practice among teens of texting nude photos of themselves to girlfriends or boyfriends.

In a recent national survey conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 20 percent of teens admitted to "sexting," which could be considered child pornography.

As if sexting isn't questionable enough, it gets worse when the photos are forwarded and fall into the wrong hands.

Now, Colorado state lawmakers are looking at a bill that would expand Internet luring and distribution of child pornography laws to include cell phones in an effort to curtail sexting.

"Computers were already in the law. But text messaging is really over a phone system, and so what this does is enhance the law already in place to include some new technology," said Republican State Rep. Carole Murray, one of the bill's main sponsors.

"The thing we have to keep in mind here is the safety of our children. That is the primary concern," said Democratic State Rep. Andy Kerry.

Teens say it's a cool, great way to get noticed by a guy or girl.

"Yeah, naked pictures," said one teen.

"When a guy's trying to get at a girl, or a girl's trying to get at a guy," said another.

Lawmakers say the reality is, it's dangerous and it could lead to all kinds of legal trouble.

"People who are out to harm our kids will use whatever method they can," said Kerr.

It happened at Castle Rock Middle School. Six students took nude photos of themselves and forwarded them to classmates. One of the photos ended up being circulated in California.

At least one parent said the law should also apply to the kids themselves.

"It's wrong and they know it. It's not like they're 5-year-old kids that took a match to something and had to learn. These kids know better," said parent Shannon Marx.

Lawmakers said the courts will decide how to prosecute a case if a teenager were to be charged, but the law is truly intended to target predators.

"This bill is definitely in the right direction," said Kerr.

"I don't think there should be anything controversial about this one. It's a very logical bill," said Murray.

In Castle Rock, the teens were not charged because the district attorney said there was no evidence of criminal intent.

But, in Pennsylvania, three teenage girls are facing child porn charges for texting nude photos of themselves to three teenage boys.

This bill goes before the house judiciary committee in one week.

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