The NJ State Assembly has passed a bill to decriminalize sexting among teens. For those of you who don’t know, “sexting” is the act of texting a nude, nearly nude or sexually suggestive photo to another person via cell phone. And to hear the local and national news tell it, there is a veritable sexting wave sweeping the nation.
I live in NJ, and I’m the parent of a teen. And despite some people shouting “FIRE” into a bucket of water, I think this decriminalization bill is a good thing.
And despite the fact that I haven’t been a raging bundle of hormones and stupidity in some time, I can still remember what it was like to be a teen…and I’m sure YOU can too. Unless of course you’ve become one of those parents who uses that revisionist history so many do, and now claim that your teens years were all sweetness, light, and occasional bouts of angst, you will most probably realize that what teens have in vigor, spunk and inventiveness they also lack in restraint and common sense.
Sorry to any teen that reads this, but its simple reality.
Teens do stupid things like its their job.
LIKE ITS THEIR JOB.
But that’s all part of growing up. You fall down, you learn from it, you get up and move on. You do something stupid, you learn from it (hopefully) and never do it again (hopefully).
And this is something that happens throughout childhood, but it gets worse during the teen years. I would imagine this worsening happens for many reasons, not the least of which is more free time away from parental supervision and that hormonal miasma we call puberty.
If I had $10 for every time I or one of my teenage friends said, “Dude I dare you to….” or “Aw man wouldn’t it be crazy if…” and then followed it with some mad scheme that could only end in embarrassment, maiming or certain death…well, lets just say I’d be retired, rich and happy. When you’re a teen you’re chasing a rush, impressing friends, impressing the opposite sex, and at the same time trying to cram as much “life” and “experience” in as you can before that thing called “adulthood” rears up and gives you a wet slap to the back of the cranium.
Go ahead….think about it for a while…it happened to YOU too.
And I can tell you now, if we had possessed the cell phone that teens have right now when I was 16? I would have been texting my junk all over the place. And so would my friends. That’s just the gods honest truth. I was a teenager. I was brave. I was bright. I had no common sense. And none of my friends did either. And neither did yours. I don’t care who you are or where you are from. When you were 16 you thought you were smarter than everyone, thought you knew better than the world, and couldn’t be told shit otherwise. And guess what? You didn’t have any common sense either.
This is why this bill is a good thing. The fact is, a 16 year old boy texting his junk to a 16 year old girl, as it now stands in child pornography. A 16 year old girl texting her breasts to a 16 year old boy? That is candidacy for the sexual predator registration list. I’m not making this crap up. Teenagers are being prosecuted and punished. Because they lack common sense.
Most teens cant fathom the consequences two hours from now on not eating breakfast now….and we expect them to THINK, “Oh, 3 months from now if I break up with Susie and she sends a picture of my junk to everyone I’ll be embarrassed.”???? Don’t hold your breath.
Now, lest you think I am saying it is ok or even permissible for teens to sext….I’m not. In fact, I’m going to continue telling MY child that it is illegal, that you can go to jail, that it will ruin your life…in an effort to implant fear into that tiny space where common sense will one day live. Much like my grandmother convinced me that if you break the law, you’re going to jail, and how in jail they feed you only bread and water, don’t let you wear shoes, and every morning they get you up and beat you for two hours with a stick before forcing you to break rocks with a hammer (true story!) I am going to gleefully tell my child that sexting will lead to the most horrible things imaginable.
I’m just happy that now, if my son DOES do something this stupid, the worst that happens is a blow to his ego, and not a permanent mark on his record.
Its a GOOD thing.
- House passes bill to decriminalize teens’ sexting (philly.com)
- N.J. Assembly to vote on bill allowing ‘sexting’ teens to avoid charges (nj.com)
- Sexting Teens Are No Longer Child Pornographers In NJ (narmer.wordpress.com)
- N.J. lawmakers approve education program for teens caught ‘sexting’ (nj.com)
- N.J. Assembly approves bill to teach teens consequences of ‘sexting’ (nj.com)