The column focuses on the absurdity of punishing children:
"The argument for hammering every such case seems to be that sending naked pictures might have serious consequences, so let's charge these kids with felonies, which will surely have serious consequences."
I agree completely.
When I was a senior in high school, a freshman girl texted another student a naked picture of herself. The boy forwarded it to his best friend, who then sent it to most of the school. The principal became aware of the situation and ended up kicking the girl off of her sports team. The girl later transferred. The boys who had forwarded the photo weren't punished.
Parents are outraged at this trend, of course. They should be. The Internet's memory is infinite, and text messages are easy to forward. So why are thirteen year olds taking naked pictures of themselves? Teens are not stupid. They know that these phone photos will be forwarded and likely end up on the Internet. I am willing to bet many of these young people do it hoping most of the school will see it. Teens know that nudity is a type of capital. They see failing musicians pose for Playboy and then hear their music on the radio. Or they watch Tila Tequila, a woman with little talent and few clothes, get a television show. Popularity and being a known as "sexy" in high school is the equivalent of an MTV show, and one photo can be all it takes to become "someone" in high school. Everyone at my school knew about the girl whose photo was forwarded. Some boys even put the picture up in their locker, next to Pam Anderson or Adriana Lima.
This trend is going to continue because the reason kids "sext" is not going anywhere. When students value popularity and a label above anything else, they will do anything to get it. The consequences, like the permanence of the Internet, don't matter. We need to give these girls something more to strive for.