The New Jersey Assembly yesterday approved a bill that would allow the courts to place teens who share digital sexual photos—“sexting”—in a diversionary education program, rather than prosecuting them as pornographers and sex offenders.
“We want to make sure these kids know they did something wrong,” said Assemblywoman Pam Lampitt of Camden County, a Democrat. “However, we don't want to send them off to jail. We don't want them to have a criminal record.”
According to one survey, perhaps 20 percent of teens have engaged in sexting. We’re thinking that it would be very bad public policy to declare a war on the so-called problem and it’s clear to us, actually, that a lot of teens aren’t doing anything with their sexy cell phone pics that ought to land them in court at all. Salon has a reasonable take on the subject: A New Jersey bill is a good start—but we should do more to defend teens' sexual exploration.
In New Jersey, the proposal must be approved by the Senate and signed by Gov. Chris Christie to become law. The issue has been taken up in at least a dozen other states.