Self-taken naked photos of teenagers classified as child pornography

March 28, 2009

Child pornography is obviously the lowest of the low, with only disturbed people thinking there is any justification for underage people being seen in any state of undress. However, should teenagers who take photos of themselves in a state of undress be charged with child porn offenses? That hardly seems either logical or fair.

Teenagers are a different breed from the rest of us. Weighed down by the pressures of merely existing as a teenager in this day and age, and influenced by the hordes of raging hormones flooding their bodies, they can be capable of some strange behavior. Such as taking nude photos of themselves and putting them on MySpace.

MySpace isn’t the only place these self-taken photos end up of course. There are other social networks (available) such as Facebook, Bebo, and Twitter. They can also be sent by email or via MMS to the mobile phone of the intended recipient, and then probably their friends as well.

This trend to send nude or semi-nude photos of yourself to a boyfriend or would-be partner isn’t limited just to teenagers, but the difference is that when it’s done by anyone under the age of 18 (in the U.S. at least), it’s tantamount to child pornography, even if the person producing and disseminating the material is the person in the photos.

In January, Tech Dirt reported how six Pennsylvania students (three girls and their boyfriends) were facing criminal charges pertaining to child pornography after sending nude photos of themselves to each other. Now, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing the prosecutor on behalf of the girls.

Meanwhile, according to Fox News, a 14-year-old girl from New Jersey has been arrested after posting almost 30 explicit photos of herself on MySpace. The teenager has been charged with both possession and distribution of child pornography.

Am I the only person who thinks these actions are truly bizarre? Nude photos of underage children are clearly illegal whoever took them. Fine, that I can understand. But to charge these teenagers who are more guilty of stupidity or naivety than anything else would seem to contravene any form of common sense.

By all means educate kids into why publishing nude photos of themselves on public Internet profiles or sending them via unsecured email and MMS services isn’t such a good idea. But charging them for child pornography offenses. That’s just overzealous and completely unnecessary.

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4 Responses to “Self-taken naked photos of teenagers classified as child pornography”

  1. Jason Montgomery:

    Yes, these children should be charged with creating child pornography, but obviously they need to dealt with in a different way than if they were an older person taking photographs of them. Sometimes kids need to be protected from themselves.

  2. Not Happening:

    Absolutely not! I totally disagree with the previous poster. These laws are meant to protect kids, not victimize them. Charging kids with child pornography for an essentially harmless act is silly. It isn’t like these kids were being illegally exploited by an adult, which is most certainly what the legislators had in mind when they were written.

  3. FreedomLover:

    I agree with Not Happening. These kids were dumb, and naive, but should not be charged with child pornography. They need to be educated, not labeled as class III sex offenders for the rest of their lives!

  4. OK:

    LOL now it’s illegal to take pictures of yourself if you are under 18? Next thing they will have to wear a bathing suit in the shower.

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