Teenagers’ distributing nude self-portraits electronically –called “sexting” if done by cell phone – is resulting in some child pornography and other criminal charges, reports the Associated Press. “Hopefully we’ll get the message out to these kids,” says Michael McAlexander, a prosecutor in Ft. Wayne, In., where a teenage boy faces felony obscenity charges for allegedly sending a photo of his private parts to several female classmates. Another boy was charged with child pornography in a similar case.
Some photos are sent to harass other teens or to get attention. Other times, they’re viewed as high-tech flirtingt. Either way, law enforcement officials want it to stop, even if it means threatening to add “sex offender” to a juvenile’s confidential record. “We don’t want to throw these kids in jail,” McAlexander says. “But we want them to think.” In Greensburg, Pa., three high school girls who sent seminude photos and four male students who received them were all hit with child pornography charges.