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West Virginia has it all wrong on teen sexting

West Virginia, bastion of morality and education apparently, passed a nonsensical law making it illegal for teens to engage in sexting. The law bars juveniles from making, having, or distributing photos and videos portraying a minor in a sexual manner. The law also requires the state supreme court to develop an educational program that focuses on the consequences of sexting, including the harm it can do to relationships, school success, and future job opportunities.

SCREEEEECH. Uh, what??

I don’t understand how the lawmakers in West Virginia are missing the critical point here. Sure, sexually explicit photos and videos can lead to negative consequences for people in a number of ways, including in their relationships, school success, and future job opportunities, but that’s not usually because of the initial act of sending the image to someone you trust; it’s from the person to whom you’re sending it sharing it with a bunch of other people or posting it on social media, without your consent.

Here’s a novel idea. How about passing a law that makes it illegal to forward sexually explicit images/videos of another person without their permission? Isn’t that the most damaging result of sexting with someone? That an explicit image you send in confidence is passed around to other people without your knowledge or consent? 

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