*UPDATED* Law and Order: SVU – Upcoming Episode on Sexting
I previously posted twice about sexting, which is the cell phone texting of sexually explicit self-photographs among teens. The cases mentioned involved the act of states making sexting illegal and to the point of even placing on the registered sex offender list teenagers who send images of themselves to other teens. This is because the law they are accused of breaking is child pornography. Again, you can read more of my thoughts and this action here.
Tuesday night, May 5, 2009, Law and Order SVU will air a special on sexting, which will include not only the dangers in which teens can find themselves among their peers, but (I believe from the ads on TV) also the law that results in their arrest.
I will be tuning in, as always, and will update this post with my thoughts afterwards.
Let me say that for the first time in a very long time (maybe ever?), I am very proud of Hollywood!
This episode approached all the angles of teen sexting, and in such a way as to not be so preachy it would turn away teens who would greatly benefit from watching this episode.
It didn’t try to put blame on the girl responsible for taking the images, although it rightfully addressed her lack of self-esteem, poor choices, and her responsibility for her own actions.
It didn’t try to blame her parents for the way they raised her, reminding people that teens are teens – as we once all were – and can and will do things parents would never expect. It reminded us that even if we would like to believe we know everything our children are doing, there is a 99.9% chance we do not. This, in turn, drives home the fact that self-respect and healthy values must start at home from the beginning. No upbringing will guarantee a child won’t get themselves into situations we never want to see happen, but teaching them to respect themselves and others and their true value in life and to us greatly impacts the prevention of their becoming another statistic.
It did place blame for what happened to her on her peers, who are far too often these days given a free pass because the victim “shouldn’t have done it in the first place.” We all make mistakes. That doesn’t give anyone the right to take advantage of our human nature and hurt us in the worst ways possible.
And the crème de la crème for me? They hit head-on the absurdity of charging teens with child pornography for taking nude images of themselves. The judge, Judge Hilda Marsden played by Swoosie Kurtz, was the embodiment of everything wrong with this new practice. Ms. Kurtz represented this failing of a system toward the youth of our society with perfection.
Although the reason behind the judge’s ruling ultimately had nothing to do with sexting, it shows the dangers of having the law in place that permits the prosecution of children as child pornographers.
I’ve said it several times on my site and elsewhere, and it deserves continued repetition: teens behave like idiots around each other. We all did. They do stupid things. We all did. Some of those things involve violence and serious offenses toward others and society. Sending risque photos of oneself to a friend is nowhere near the seriousness of killing someone for sneakers or pimping out fellow school girls for drug money and a “rep.”
As foolish and undignified as sexting is, it can in no way, shape, or form ever be compared to the molestation and rape of children, which is what true child pornography displays. I have seen true child pornography, and when you’ve seen children and babies being forcibly raped and sodomized in images and video, you damned well know the difference between it and teenagers behaving recklessly to impress the opposite sex.
Please, if your state is looking at or has already passed laws to prosecute teens for sexting – which will, also, land them on the sex offender registry and brand them as sex offenders for the rest of their lives – write to your governor, to your district attorney, to your mayor, and to anyone who will listen and demand they rethink this ignorant decision.
I challenge anyone in government who would agree sexting among teens is, indeed, child pornography to visit the special crimes/special victims department of their local law enforcement building and look through the thousands of images and videos of real child pornography. Anyone who can then, in good conscience, say they are one in the same doesn’t deserve any place of authority overseeing the protection of our children.
Below are two clips from the official site of NBC’s Law and Order SVU. I hope to find a full episode on the site or elsewhere in the event anyone who missed it comes across this post and would like to see it. If and when I do, I’ll post it here. It needs to be seen by every parent of every teen in this country as well as teens, themselves.