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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Bill: Don't charge teens with 'sexting' anymore



Phone Though most parents are horrified at the idea of their teens sending nude pictures or "sexting" their dates, a bill is moving through the Florida House that aims to keep them from being charged with a serious sex offense.

A recent national study showed one in five teenagers have sent sexy text messages with photos. Teens caught doing this have been charged in the same category as child pornographers and pedophiles for forwarding racy pictures. One Orlando teen couldn''t live in his mother's house after he forwarded his ex-girlfriend's picture and was charged as a sex offender. His mother lives too close to a school or playground for her predator son to live there.

Lawmakers who usually are quick to pass harsh law and order bills seem to be willing to give kids room to make a mistake

"There is a recognition that teenagers have a tendency to be impulsive," said Rep. Kevin Ambler, a Tampa Republican who supported the bill, which must be heard in two more committees before it gets to the House floor. "They've grown up on the Internet, and shooting something to someone real fast they do without thinking."

This still has some penalties, so we as parents still have to warn our kids about never accepting or forwarding or sending images like this. But maybe they won't have to move out if they do.

-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne

[Photo: In this Times photo by Kainaz Amaria, Hillsborough High freshman John Steele shows photos he sent of himself to a girl to flirt. But when a girl sent some sexy images in return, he found himself in hot water, kicked out of his magnet school and warned that he could be arrested.]

[Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2010 11:05am]


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