Subscribe to the Chicato Tribune
Already have an NIE subscription?

Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

FOR THE WEEK OF APR 04, 2011

Teen sexting creates tricky issues for law enforcers and lawmakers

frontpageactionpoints.gif
1.gif
Privacy is an issue covered regularly for varied reasons. Look for any recent report involving online security, government actions or other concerns.
2.gif
Music, TV and other popular culture can set a bad example, some parents and educators say. Try to find an article or ad that shows how bold actions are used to get attention.
3.gif
Can you spot a reference to social media in the news? Is it about something positive, negative or just humorous?

For the second straight year, Florida legislators are debating a sensitive question that's a hot topic nationwide: Should minors who snap racy photos on cellphones and send them to friends be punished as child-pornography distributors or sex offenders? A proposed change, which failed to pass in 2010, would let first offenders under 18 get a warning instead of a criminal charge. "It's an issue we need to address," says Sen. Charlie Dean, sponsor of the bill to relax the law.

Since 2009, at least 26 states have tried to pass some kind of legislation to deal with sexting -- the practice of sending explicit text messages, photos or videos. The efforts reflect a push to reform laws aimed at adults, which prosecutors sometimes apply against teens who don't realize that what seems like flirting or showing off is actually a felony. Two girls and a boy -- all eighth-graders -- learned that scary lesson last year when a county prosecutor in Washington State charged them with starting the viral spread of a schoolmate's nude photo. The case, featured prominently March 27 in a front-page New York Times report on sexting, was dismissed when the students agreed to create public service materials about sexting risks.

Many school districts try to warn parents and students about sexting, and some authorize principals to check cellphones. "We have to protect kids from themselves sometimes," says attorney Justin Fitzsimmons of Alexandria, Va., a specialist in online crimes against minors. "We're teaching them how to manage their electronic reputations." The need for that education is clear from a 2009 poll for the Associated Press and MTV. Twenty-four percent of respondents aged 14 to 17 had been involved in "some type of naked sexting," either by cellphone or online.

School district says: "Parents called us because they didn't know about the law that could send kids to jail for a bad choice. Kids didn't know about it either." -- Courtney Schrieve, North Thurston Public Schools (site of Washington State case)

Educator says: "You can't expect teenagers not to do something they see happening all around them. They're practicing to be a part of adult culture. And in 2011, that is a culture of sexualization and of putting yourself out there to validate who you are and that you matter." -- Susannah Stern, associate professor at the University of San Diego

State senator says: "We're not out to make criminals out of children, but there should be an accountability for their behavior, and their parents should be involved with helping us." -- Sen. Charlie Dean, Florida Republican who proposes relaxed rules for teens

Front Page Talking Points is written by Felix Grabowski and Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2014
We welcome comments or suggestions for future topics: Click here to Comment

Front Page Talking Points Archive

‘Boston Strong’ spirit and strict security mark Monday marathon, shadowed by 2013 blasts

E-cigarettes spark discussions about health benefits and teen use

Safety campaign combats distracted driving with dramatic ad, new website and #justdrive tag

White House posts climate change details at new website as part of push for action

Even President Obama is caught up in the NCAA basketball tournament’s March Madness

‘Cosmos’ science series on TV aims to show how ‘we’re all connected’

Sweeping changes will make the SAT more relevant and useful, College Board says

‘My Brother’s Keeper’ is Obama’s name for effort to help at-risk young men

This season of wicked weather brings above-normal ice coverage on all Great Lakes

Warm days make the last week of Olympic action in Russia seem like the Spring Games

Complete archive