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Texas Takes Aim at Teen Sexting

By: CNN
By: CNN

Texas wants to get tough on teen sexting. The state wants to make it a misdemeanor for first-time violators under the age of 18. The way the law is currently written, teens could face adult pornography laws.

When being social turns into sexting that's when many teens could run into problems.

“Nine times out of ten it's a nasty photo,” said one resident.

“Its mostly girls taking naked photos of themselves and then they send it to their boyfriend or something and then it will go around through all the friends and then somehow it gets out into the school area,” said another resident.

A new proposed law in Texas is aimed at addressing teen sexting, punishing teens who send the texts and their parents.

“They are exposing themselves 'round the world forever more,” said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

A new survey shows 1-in-5 teens admitted sending or posting suggestive images of themselves. Nearly 4-in-10 teens admitted sending sexually-suggestive messages.

The proposed law would charge the teen with a misdemeanor, forcing a court appearance and require parents to enroll in an educational program. Eventually, offenders could wipe the slate clean at 17 years old.

“Our goal is not to put more teens behind bars, but to try to prevent this type of conduct from taking place,” Abbott said.

Right now teens can be charged with possessing or trafficking in child pornography, an offense which carries the potential of decades of prison time and being on the registered sex offender list for life. Still the new proposed law is aimed at helping teens think twice before they click and hit send.

“People don't really care,” said Abbott. “Teenagers don't really care. They don't think about it all. They're not thinking when they do it. It's terrible. “

The bill also addresses teens who receive sexually explicit images. If they report it to authorities within 48-hours, they're off the hook for possession of child pornography charges.


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