AirTalk for April 8, 2011

California assemblyman proposes bill that would mandate counseling for sexters

Mercer 16817

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California lawmakers believe that the practice of "sexting" has gotten out of hand.

Studies indicate that one in five teens between the age of 13 and 19 have texted, emailed or posted digital nude pics of themselves. One could argue this is just natural, sexual exploration 2.0. But “sexting” could lead to federal child pornography charges and sex offender registration for the nation’s youth. It can also be devastating to the teens involved, when nude photos go viral. States have been struggling with how to deal with sexting between minors. Now, California has proposed a bill that would allow courts to order teens to pay a fine up to $1,000 and undergo counseling, with the costs to be borne by the minor’s parents. AB 321 passed a unanimous, bipartisan vote in the Assembly Public Safety Committee on Tuesday. Is this a positive, lenient approach to dealing with the problem of sexting? Or an intrusion on First Amendment rights that could sweep more children into the court system?

Guest:

Roger Hernandez, (D-West Covina) California State Assemblyman, representing the 57th District; sponsor of AB 321


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