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Shurtleff denounces study that calls 'sexting' innocuous

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  • e
    June 4, 2009 10:25 p.m.

    Shurtleff directly referenced the law when he said "... the production, manufacture and distribution of child pornography" from the charge of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor. That being a 2nd degree felony with life-time registration on the sex offender registry.

    This type of behavior is not predatory and making it a registerable offense is crowding an already populous registry with no risk based classification! Utah does not differentiate offenders according to threat or level of treatment, and offenses like this that would fall under Sexual Exploitation of a Minor is misleading and ambiguous of exacting.

    Prosecuting teenagers would be a frivolous endeavor when 20% are taking part in it. Ignoring it may extenuate the problem but intervening legally is excessive, unless the activity is either through enticement or serious advantageous exploitation.

    Lastly, why doesn't the Deseret News post a link to Cumming's paper?

  • mia
    June 3, 2009 11:14 a.m.

    Children do not have the right to "sexting"! The problem is with technology today... what you thought was private and between friends is now out for the world to view. Teenager's reasoning ability is low. I agree with the professor's study yet we have a duty to protect our children and youth from dangers they know nothing about. The punishment does not fit the crime. That is where we have gone so crazy... where is the balance???

  • old school
    June 3, 2009 8:33 a.m.

    It is rare that in one's lifetime a moral and ethical question might arise where one is asked to choose the side of evil or choose the side of good.

    Today, in our lifetime, the sexual rights of children is one of these questions. During slavery it was evident that to be on the side of abolition was to be on the side of good; similarly, in Nazi Germany to be on the side of Jews was to choose the good, to be against them was to choose the evil.

    Likewise, these days, the field for human rights has to do with the freedom of children to be sexual beings where the side of good is to respect the consent of children, and the side of evil is to suppress and criminalize that consent.

    Yes, "sexting" IS a human right.

    And considering a child, usually a boy, can have his life ruined forever because he chooses free will, the will to express his sexuality, then there is a distant but very resonate parallel between the Nazis rounding up the Jews and the current authorities of Utah--or whatever state--rounding up kids who willing consent to sexuality.

  • mia
    June 2, 2009 11:41 p.m.

    My understanding is that the legislature voted unanimous in make sexting a misdemeanor for minors for a first time offense. As Kurt mentioned our court system is broken down. When it comes to sex offenses the judge has very little power. Utah law is such that your fate is sealed and thanks to mandatory sentencing you can go through the programs, change your behavior but still have the label. A lifetime sentence on the sex offender registry??? People need a better understanding in how our brains are wired, especially, men's. Our tax dollars would be better spent in educating and providing counseling and hope. How did we get so mean?

  • Michael Jackson
    June 2, 2009 1:32 p.m.

    Just Beat it Shurtleff. I'm BAD!

  • Why don't they just
    June 2, 2009 12:30 p.m.

    put together a new law and take it to the legislature or the voting booths next year, making it a crime, but of a lesser charge than child pornography? The kids who are caught could do community service or take a class at city hall, the way they have to do when they're caught shoplifting, and they could have a court mandated block put on sending or receiving media texts (picture or video) until they're 18. Phone companies can put the block on, it's not like it's impossible.

    Or better yet, why don't parents put the block on themselves? Teenagers with cell phones don't need all the extra packaging. It was only just over ten years ago that they made Clueless, a movie spoofing, among other things, how ridiculous it would be to have teenagers carrying around cell phones in high school. Now it's standard, and probably somewhat necessary. But they don't NEED to be able to send pics and videos to their friends.

  • This Canadian
    June 2, 2009 11:13 a.m.

    . . . Professor Cumming sounds like a guy that just wants free kiddie porn and doesn't want the government interfering in his obtaining it.

    It's amazing what passes for scholarship and science these days.

  • KurtE
    June 2, 2009 10:46 a.m.

    This article shows yet again that we have serious problems with the justice system. Attorney Generals, judges, prosecutors, the police, etc., are in desperate need of being educated regarding human sexuality, psychology and especially adolescent psychology. While technically minors, adolescents, especially older adolescents, are young adults and not children. They should be treated accordingly and be allowed to enjoy some rights and priveledges. If it is not illegal for someone 18 or older, should it even be illegal for someone 16 or 17? Or should it be just a minor offense?
    We also need to make sure that the only thing the government outlaws to the point of making it a felony is abusive, exploitive and non-consensual sexual activity. Unless something is proven by science, reason, and empirical evidence to be harmful (and unreasonably harmful at that) it should NOT be illegal (or possibly be just a misdemeanor) even if it is in opposition to some people's view of "morality" or religious doctrine or sensibilities or traditions.

  • @old school
    June 2, 2009 8:59 a.m.

    Sexting a human right? Are you high on crack?

  • old school
    June 1, 2009 3:18 p.m.

    I'm very surprised about the uproar over this story. One has to wonder why such noise is being made--is it a sign there is something deeply wrong in American's attitudes towards the sexuality of minors?

    And if you read between the headlines, the true story that seems to be emerging is that of a growing civil rights battle for children.

    Just as in civil rights battles of the past, the key question is are children deserving of the human right of sexuality? Right now our laws say no, children are not human enough to be allowed to have sexuality.

    But with thousands of stories online about teen sexting, and hundreds of teens being caught all the time, it seems that kids are voting with their cell phones.

    Now the question that confronts us is: is this sexting a natural phenomenon? And what are the moral and ethical problems with hunting down children who choose to claim their sexuality despite the draconian laws that want to scare them sexless?

    One could are argue that this is turning out to be one of the great human rights battles of history.

  • Concerned Mother
    June 1, 2009 12:11 p.m.

    Teens should not be labeled "sex offenders." Utah sex offender laws are the harshest in the nation. Legislation is written that sex offenses can not be dealt down to a misdemeanor and there is ten years or lifetime on the sex offender registry.
    To put this burden on a teenagers shoulders is criminal!! Juveniles should be handeled differently than adults. There are better ways to hold them accountable for their actions than a felony conviction and being a registered sex offender.

  • Robin
    May 30, 2009 1:42 p.m.

    Is this how Paul Murphy earns his salary as publist for the AG. What's next, Israel, Mexico, there is always the English model of caring for the welfare for children. I suppose we will be subject to more of the moral philosophy of our future Senator.

  • ama
    May 30, 2009 9:40 a.m.

    Funny you should point to Canada, Clem...we've been your best customers in the films from Hollywood and your soap operas and your lifestyles, for years. We may be or not, as bad as you paint us,but I'd do a little studying before you open your large, 'Amercan' mouth.

  • Well, Mark
    May 30, 2009 7:52 a.m.

    Just who is to blame?
    I suggest we sue the Phone Manufacturers.
    Shurtleff will have us all in Jail if he has his way.
    Shurtleff has a major problem with a desire to punish Utahn's.
    Kids are kids and they have a new toy to display.
    With a camera phone, What would you have expected from this device?
    Shurtliff needs to go and Not to Washington.
    We have to many Rich Boys in Office destroying Poor Boys.


  • Debbie
    May 29, 2009 7:58 p.m.

    This activity can lead to worse/other things?? WHO SAYS SO, where's the studies to back that up?
    Leave the teens alone and let their parents work it out with them.
    Sex-offender arrests have run rampant in this state and are a placebo blanket for whatever the courts/state want to shove under that blanket. WRONG & UNJUST! Adding teens to that is opening up to ruin their lives completely --- WHY?!
    Enough is enough, our rights have been trampled on for years now and UT is one of the worst states doing so, isn't it time to put a halt to that instead of supporting more laws creating more havoc?!

    Teens will always figure out how to use the latest technology in any way they find enjoyable, why make that wrong and create laws to govern it? Use some common sense here people and our Govenor should as well!

  • michael
    May 29, 2009 7:40 p.m.

    RE: child porn laws
    We should consider the purpose of the law in this matter. the purpose is to make it illegal for a person to Force a child to pose naked for pictures. That is abusive. (usually an adult taking advantage of a child in the process of taking the photo.
    Teen sexting does not take advantage of the youth being photoed, therefor the child porn law should not apply.

  • I have trouble with this
    May 29, 2009 4:29 p.m.

    On the one hand, we have kids who take naked pictures of themselves and send it to their friends.
    On the other hand, we have the slimey guy in the panel van who is forcing kids to get naked and snapping shots of them so he and others like him can feel titillated.
    I think there is a distinct moral difference between the two. Treating one as the other overvalues the moral turpitude of the one while undervaluing the moral turpitude of the other. I like Shurtleff but he is wrong on this.

  • Mark
    May 29, 2009 4:03 p.m.

    I do not care who you are. You must be a freak to say that nude photos are not harmful. Thank You shurtlef for standing up for decency. If nude photos where not harmful, then why do older age persons look at that crap and then try to act out. You cannot tell me one porn addict that has looked at that stuff and has not acted or contemplated on doing something. What kinda society do we live in that a person says looking a naked children is normal and not harmful. I would swear because you people are freaks. Thank You shurtlef for standing up!

  • Moral to challenge unjust laws
    May 29, 2009 11:45 a.m.

    Anti-nudity jihadists should spell out how a society benefits if its members are instructed to be uncomfortable with the naked body.

    That more sexually-repressive societies are more aggressive and warlike suggests that sexual repression furthers the agenda of the military-industrial cabal.

    The behaviors of self-justifying police and prosecutors make most instances of nudity involving children far more damaging than the actual creation or distribution of the image.

  • Paul
    May 29, 2009 11:33 a.m.

    If Shurtleff really wants to prosecute these kids, and if the study is correct in that 1 in 5 of teens have engaged in this behavior, we will run out of space in our prisons, and we will run out of students in our schools. Or we could convert the schools to prisons. Then there wouldn't be any problem with prison overcrowding.

    That is, unless we would rather educate children than incarcerate them.

    Maybe the people who would label these kids as sex criminals are the ones who need to be educated.

  • Extreme overreaction
    May 29, 2009 9:27 a.m.

    Much ado about nothing. The study is absolutely right. In and of itself, nudity is meaningless, pictorial or otherwise. Every one of us was born with a body. Who cares. That we would consider it acceptable to destroy lives with our so-called legal system, over nothing, while not a surprise to me, is clearly indicative of a culture that has completely lost it. Anyone, including evidently, Mr. Shurtleff, that would advocate such idiocy, is very dangerous. Maybe I'd better move to Canada, where there's apparently still some chance for reason?

  • RE:Naturist guy 3:51 5/28
    May 29, 2009 7:42 a.m.

    Naturist guy | 3:51 p.m. May 28, 2009
    "...and let's face it, one naked person looks pretty much like every other one. We're not talking about finger prints here"

    I beg to differ. Take a gander at, say, Roseann Barr in the buff, then compare her to, say, Jennifer Aniston. Not only is that a disturbing comparison...tell me that isn't a "fingerprint"!

  • JCNY
    May 29, 2009 7:38 a.m.

    I dont think this article, Mr, Cummings article, or any of the comments are required. Let us just update sex education to include aspects of technology, and parent, the next time you have the "sex talk", instead of asking your daughter "to wait" why not let them know that a simple thing like "sexting" might have more repercussions than pre-marital sex.

  • Shirtless Shurtleff
    May 29, 2009 7:10 a.m.

    I'm LDS. I think it's unfair to assume that LDS have a single point of view in this legal issue.

    I agree with many who state that it is overreactionary to brand teens who are caught doing this sort of thing as "sex offenders". It isn't something I want kids doing, but children do stupid things. By throwing this under the sex-offender bus, the whole concept of such an offense loses meaning. In a few years were this to continue, there will be a whole generation of adults wearing that label who can claim all they did was send a picture over a cellphone.

    Calling them Level A or level C or whatever the classification is that is least harmless doesn't work... because people don't know what those classifications mean.

    Growing up is hard to do. Especially as these technologies and trends are so new. Draconian responses such as what Shurtleff is advocating is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

  • Prison
    May 29, 2009 6:48 a.m.

    Lock-up these bad kids for producing child porn, they will surely come out more moral after a year in the big house with a criminal record. Good Idea, thanks for your help Mark!

  • Middle ground
    May 29, 2009 5:45 a.m.

    There's got to be some middle ground that gets these kids the help and attention they need without making them felons for the rest of their life.
    Sexting is not good, but to label a child as a "sex offender" doesn't help them and honestly doesn't do too much to discourage other kids from doing the same thing. Kids don't always consider all of the consequences of their actions. They don't even know all of the consequences much of the time. Even if you tell them (over and over again) some of them still don't get it. They're brains don't work like adult brains.
    If such "deterrents" really do work for children we would never hear about kids getting hurt playing with fire, dangerous weapons, or falling off their bicycles.
    I'm all for teaching children what's right and wrong, but Shurtleff goes too far here.

  • Only in Utah!
    May 29, 2009 12:18 a.m.

    Only in Utah would you find extremists so over the top on something like this as to label it child porn and try to prosecute the kids. A kid sending an image of themself to 1 other person that they know well is not the same as mass distribution of child porn! Get with Reality and Get off your Soap Box!

    It is obvious who Mark is trying to get votes from with this over the top stance, but he does not realize that there are a lot more normal and logical LDS and other religious people in this state than the minority vocal religious zealots that might be extreme enough to agree with him on this!

  • DC
    May 29, 2009 12:10 a.m.

    My son just finished a criminal law class in high school and this topic came up. According to the law, anyone under the age of 18 is a minor, a.k.a. "child". Manufacturing, possessing and/or distributing (a.k.a. "Sexting") any images that could be deemed pornographic of a person under the age of 18 is dealing Child Pornography. This is the law of the nation, not just Utah. In this case, Mr. Shurtleff is dead on.

  • Professor is right
    May 28, 2009 11:33 p.m.

    I agree with the Canadian Professor. People have the right to photograph themselves and give the photos to whomever they want, assumint the reciever is willing.

  • Anonymous
    May 28, 2009 10:12 p.m.

    On one hand we have well thought out, studied, scientific research. On the other hand we have opinion based on dogma. Dogma wins. Welcome to Utah.

  • Anonymous
    May 28, 2009 9:48 p.m.

    Kids are bombarded by sex at every turn of their lives...

    We don't stop it on tv, magazines, jokes, or anything else..

    The parents aren't going to be able to stop such actions, except to take the phone away..soooo, study away .....and intervene...when you see morals bend every way evey day...not gonna happen.

  • Frank
    May 28, 2009 9:41 p.m.

    Mr. Shurtleff said. "No matter how the professor spins it, the fact is that minors sending nude photos, images or videos are engaging in the production, manufacture and distribution of child pornography."

    And, "No matter how the professor spins it, the fact is that minors sending nude photos, images or videos are engaging in the production, manufacture and distribution of child pornography."

    And also, "We should be teaching our youth the consequences of their behavior, rather than excusing it," And he also said. "Countless ICAC cases involve teens being exploited for the gratification or profit of others. Sexting leaves long-lasting scars."

    He did not say that he would label any child a sex offender. These are words created by critics on this forum.

    I believe that the identity of under age offenders will be handled much the same as it is for other crimes and there will be no public stigma unless they continue this practice after they become adults according to the law.

    I think we should ask Mr. Shurtleff to explain how these cases will be handled under the law and give him every opportunity to nip this destructive behavior in the bud, with our help.

  • Shurtleff expanding gov't
    May 28, 2009 9:28 p.m.

    Shurtleff is expanding government again. He thinks that the solution to everything is more government intervention. I can't see why anyone would support him. Yes, sexting is a bad thing but do we really want the government stepping in and controlling everything?

  • Anonymous
    May 28, 2009 9:18 p.m.

    Kids who do this need parents who care enough to intervene.

  • ieie
    May 28, 2009 9:11 p.m.

    Shurtleff is right on on this one. Consequences need to be steep to discourage kids from doing it.

  • @ anon @ 6 pm
    May 28, 2009 8:59 p.m.

    "anyone who thinks a nude body is porn, obviously does not think for themselves and are nothing more than sheep, being taught by the ultra conservative."

    Obviously, because my, or anyone else's, view differs from yours they cannot be thinking for themselves. Excellent display of tolerance. You effectively invalidated your own argument by providing a perfect example of what you're claiming all "ultra conservatives" are -- narrow-minded 'sheep' incapable of seeing an opposing/different point of view as valid.

    I agree that tagging them as sex offenders is not the proper response, but I agree with his stance that we need to take a stand somewhere. From the article, I didn't see anywhere that he said they should be considered sex offenders, that was you labeling all "ultra conservatives".

    Sex offenders, no. Placing them on a bad path, absolutely. "Sexting" may not be the worst thing ever, but it definitely opens a door that most of those kids, if they knew what was inside, would not want to open. That's what I hope this 'debate' is about.

  • Shurtleff
    May 28, 2009 7:13 p.m.

    Why don't you do something more important than trying to label minors as sex offenders? Didn't you have lunch with that man from Utah County that is now facing an indictment Koerber (sp? - your inaction proves you're incompetent or corrupt. That man has been accused of swindling 100M from investors, and all I hear you doing is going to court over a basketball ruling, and minors for texting. Have you seen the pole on the Tribune, your support for senate was 5-6%. I hope when people go to the poles they remember the people you could have helped from being swindled and the minors you want to harm by labeling them as sex offender, Utah values?

  • Huh?
    May 28, 2009 7:00 p.m.

    How can one be both the victim and perpetrator of the same crime?

  • @ Dave
    May 28, 2009 6:58 p.m.

    Being found guilty of child pornography automatically means sex offender status.

  • @ Arlan West
    May 28, 2009 6:53 p.m.

    So, having the government prosecute your child for committing a crime means society is not responsible for raising your children?

    Huh?

    Quite the contrary - taking punishment of this behavior away from the parents is putting the responsibility and cost on society.

  • kurly
    May 28, 2009 6:26 p.m.

    once again mr shurtleff has taken something and tried to criminalize it. so the kid made a mistake . dont give him/her a criminal record. use some common sense ... oh i forgot this is the church run state ..its either criminal or imoral to do anything out of the ordinary here

  • ANON
    May 28, 2009 6:14 p.m.

    I do not advocate sexting, but labeling these teens as a sex offender is a bit excessive don't you think? Has anyone ever gone online to see what get labeled as a sex offender entail? They will have to register as a sex offender for most of their lives. And for what? sending nude pictures? How can taking a nude picture of yourself warrant this kind of response? The Sex Offender laws were supposed to be for sex offenders. These same laws that were supposed to protect our children, now are condemning them for life. FOR LIFE. Is this right?
    My opinion, the laws that are being used against these teens, are doing far more harm then sending nude pictures of themselves ever will.

  • UTMLP
    May 28, 2009 6:01 p.m.

    Shurtleff is right to take this on. Behavior such as this leads to more potentially dangerous behavior. As for the argument that kids don't know what they are doing is wrong is code for their parents aren't doing their job. There have to be consequences for behavior like this. Kids need to learn that there is a limit. There are expectations of members of polite society and just one of them is that you exercise self restraint. Whatever happened to teaching kids that there is a time and place for sex and it isn't on the phone, the computer, the TV or seedy adult theaters. If kids are going to act like adults they need to be treated like adults (including taking responsibility for their behavior) you can't have it both ways. Shurtleff is doing his job; upholding the laws of Utah and protecting society from predatory and dangerous behavior.

  • anon
    May 28, 2009 6:00 p.m.

    I don't advocate what they are doing, but one thing I don't understand. Sex offender laws originally were created to protect children, now they are being used to condemn them. These same laws that were supposed to be used against child predators, or labeling these same children as predators as well. I honestly cannot understand how anyone can think this is a good idea, has anyone ever gone online to see what this labeling entails? Do anyone think for themselves? Do anyone posses any logic that can honestly say crimilizing these teens for most of their life is in anyway good?
    Where is the common sense?
    Now lets describe what pornography is. Is every nude picture porn? Or is pornography nude pictures depicted in a sexual manner or pose? You would be surprised to find out, the defenitions may differ depending on where you live. But in a ultra conservative utah, the definition is a bit skewed. And anyone who thinks a nude body is porn, obviously does not think for themselves and are nothing more than sheep, being taught by the ultra conservative. So, lets go ahead and ruin their lives forever.

  • Dave
    May 28, 2009 5:59 p.m.

    I have gone back and re-read the article. I find no reference to Mark's sugesting that children be labeled as "sex offenders." He is suggesting that steps be taken to make them aware of the seriousness of what they are doing when they engage in this sort of activity.

  • Stupid Behavior
    May 28, 2009 5:39 p.m.

    Yes, this is stupid behavior. But do we need the government regulating every little thing we do? This is America and we are a free country. Down with Big Republican Government telling us how to live our lives!!

  • Mark D.
    May 28, 2009 5:31 p.m.

    Dumbest article ever. To label a teenager a sex-offender because they send a nude pic of themselves across the web is ridiculous. I can't believe I just wasted my time reading that.

    With all of the problems in the world, it's sad that there are yokels out there trying to micro-legislate their brand of morality. Personally, I think disciplining teenagers for sending nudy photos of themselves online to a crush should be left up to the parents of those children.

    You can bet your 'you know what' that my daughter would never again pull something like that if I ever found out. But it's up to me on how I handle the situation, not some self-righteous politician.

    Sex offender? Are you kidding me? Shurtleff needs to move to Saudi Arabia.

  • Overkill
    May 28, 2009 5:06 p.m.

    Being the parent of teenagers, and also communicating with parents of other teenagers, and with the teenagers themselves. Teenagers do stupid things without thinking. Consequences do need to be in place, but that of a "sex offender" in this case is overkill. I know of many parents who think their teenagers are perfect and different and would not do some of the stupid things that "other" teenagers do. They are surprised if they find out otherwise. Many of these teenagers really believe it is a "private thing" sending a text to someone. They need to be taught but not labeled for the rest of their lives. Have you ever seen elementary kids get into fight and hit each other? Should they be charged with assault. Maybe we can have much of our juvenile population with criminal records. I disagree with Shurtleff on this one. Other laws with over-kill consequences should be revised too.

  • McKay
    May 28, 2009 5:04 p.m.

    Mark Shurtleff did the absolute right thing by taking on this issue. Our kids need to be aware of consequences to their actions...

  • Criminalizing Teen Sex
    May 28, 2009 4:41 p.m.

    We are so fearful of "s*x offenders" in this country, we overreact to the point we are labeling kids as deviants for stupid but non-criminal behaviors. There's a great article on criminalizing teen sex at a site called Once Fallen, you'd be amazed to find out we're branding kids as young as age 6. That's pretty messed up.

  • Anonymous
    May 28, 2009 4:33 p.m.

    Conservatives are a boundless resource for humor. The Canadian is right as rain about this. I criminal charge involving sex would be more damaging to a kid.

    Every parent's kid is exceptional and perfect. I've never seen a kid that didn't make a few mistakes. This is why, before conservative economics, kids had a parent at home to supervised them.

    You can teach and teach. They are you. Experience as been proven to be the ultimate teacher.

    I've been to Canada. The city was clean and the crime rate much less. I love listening to CBC if I'm near Canada.

    If Canada is so degenerate, why are you safer in Canada? Why do you see fewer homeless? Canadians aren't being evicted because of medical problems. Drugs aren't legal.

  • Re: FooBass
    May 28, 2009 4:20 p.m.

    Huh? I don't get it.

  • Anything to get his name...
    May 28, 2009 4:14 p.m.

    in the press. Shurtleff has the biggest ego in the world.

  • Arlan West
    May 28, 2009 4:14 p.m.

    The professors comments and attitude merely reflect those that have been developing for the past 30 years....it is not the responsibility of the parents to raise their children; it is societies job. And now with the technology available today the society includes the entire world. Well maybe it is time to rethink the whole "it takes a village" mentality. Although there is great truth in that statement it does not negate the responsibility of the parents to be the primary moral compass that the child needs to look to. Without the parents intense involvement in the raising of their own children, all that is left is a bunch of strangers, i.e., the village doing it for them.

  • JB
    May 28, 2009 4:04 p.m.

    I completely agree with Shurtleff on this one. Not much else to say!

  • @Shurtleff
    May 28, 2009 4:00 p.m.

    Amen to that!

  • Dannon
    May 28, 2009 3:56 p.m.

    Way to go Mark, we can not let teenagers think that this is okay. It is not the same as spin the bottle or even doctor, mainly because once it is sent it keeps being sent and everyone gets it. You lose total control, plus many people are exposed to it who had no idea what it was going to be. Can't wait to have you in the senate

  • justareader
    May 28, 2009 3:52 p.m.

    Innocuous? playing spin the bottle when I was younger didn't include sending pic's of genitals. Mostly just kissing. Playing doctor entailed a bit more but it was done in privacy. Not for God and Country to see. Adult porn is one thing but child porn, and I assume sexting is child porn, is not a game as STB or doctor. Its against the law...civilly and morally. Some Canadian Professors deed to quit professing to be professors or get reeducated.

  • Naturist guy
    May 28, 2009 3:51 p.m.

    As a proponent of chaste naturism (nudism), I can tell you that these kids won't be damaged by their mere desire to be seen nude by their friends. They may, however, face the long-term consequences of having those images in cyberspace forever - but only if their faces are included. Supposedly, only genitalia was photographed, and let's face it, one naked person looks pretty much like every other one. We're not talking about finger prints here.

  • Gay
    May 28, 2009 3:46 p.m.

    Yes, and if it's a 1.3 megapixel camera, the photos are probably not all that flattering. Those teens should be prosecuted. Even if no immediate harm comes from "sexting," it will no doubt, lead to worse things in the future.

    Why don't we call things by their proper names, like stop using the word "gay" to describe homosexuals (who really don't seem happy) and instead of "sexting" let's call it taking photos of one's naked body parts with a cell phone and sending it. How about Cyber Exhibitionism? euphemisms?

  • Chris
    May 28, 2009 3:43 p.m.

    If more of us stood us for children and families like Mark Shurtleff is doing our communities and families would be much safer. Thanks, Mark, for speaking up in behalf of child and teen safety and for working to tirelessly to protect our families from Internet predators.

  • 1 in 5?
    May 28, 2009 3:41 p.m.

    I hope it isn't that bad. I hope there are more kids than that that are smart enough not to take their clothes off at the drop of a hat just because they have some crush. If that study is true, we are in bad shape.

  • justareader
    May 28, 2009 3:39 p.m.

    Innocuous? When I played spin the bottle, nobody showed each other pic's of our genitals. When I played"Doctor" I did it privately, not so the whole world could see. Sex ting, child prnography, etc. IS harmful to the morality of any society. Adult porn is one thing but child porn...isn't that against the law? Some Canadian Professors need to be reeducated or quit professing to be a professor.
    Innocuous, Hell!

  • OK, but...
    May 28, 2009 3:37 p.m.

    How exactly does a parent "the consequences" of sexting? Presuming, of course, that the parent who buys their teen a video capable phone is actually involved enough in their teen's life to care...

  • FooBass
    May 28, 2009 3:32 p.m.

    His name is Peter Cumming?

  • VT
    May 28, 2009 3:31 p.m.

    The only scars are those caused by overzealous puritanical prosecutors. Trying to tie these kids in with child-predator pornographers is absurd.

  • Overreaction
    May 28, 2009 3:29 p.m.

    Shurtleff says "Sexting leaves long-lasting scars," but those scars (if they form) are nothing compared to the scars that would result from being labeled a sex offender. Yes, kids need to slapped so they don't do stupid things, but labeling them as a sex offender is a grievous overreaction.

  • Clem
    May 28, 2009 3:27 p.m.

    Surprisingly, Shurtleff is right for a change--sexting creates images that will be in cyberspace forever. However, it is not surprising that the study is bogus--after all it came from Canada. The entire nation of Canada has fallen into extreme moral decay: leagalizing drug use and every form of immorality. It is not surprising that a Canadian study would encourage sexting as "part of the growing up process."

  • Anonymous
    May 28, 2009 3:27 p.m.

    It seems to me the best defense against "sexting" is to teach kids about the repercussion of their actions and about the pitfalls that go along with the wonders of technology. I would also wonder if there was some underlying emotional issue prompting the behavior. Education and maybe counseling are better options. Labeling them as sex offenders at an early age only stigmatizes them without giving them a chance to change their behavior. Its more serious then spin-the-bottle, but it also shouldn't be deemed criminal.