They’re out of control

So we have 5th graders facing jail time for accessing porn on library computers and showing it to their classmates. We also have underage kids facing jail time and being forever labeled as sex offenders for sending racy pictures of themselves to their friends over the internet. Corruption of minors, indecent exposure and of course creation, possession and distribution of child pornography are some of the charges these kids face. They’re out of control I tell you.

By “they” I of course mean prosecutors. Seriously, the right way to address all this is to send these kids to jail? To possibly ruin their lives for something so ridiculous? Is it really the right way to address these problems by putting them into the same criminal category as child molesters?

And of course, let’s take a look at this problem which parents, legislators and prosecutors are trying to tackle, sexual curiosity, or more specifically, any attempts to satiate that curiosity. It’s the ridiculous attempts to keep children ignorant and “safe” which makes these things happen. There’s nothing more tantalizing than what’s forbidden, and the more hysterical the authorities doing the forbidding are about it, the more tantalizing it becomes.

Rather than hold these kids up as examples to discourage the behavior in other kids, why not instead use their actions as examples by which to educate? How about instead of laying some antiquated morality or religious rules and threats of consequences for their actions, you explain why something might be wrong, and what ACTUAL consequences there could be. The religiously inspired Abstinence only plans in this country in recent years have shown what a misguided combo ignorance and abstract threats are. Look at the massive increase in teen pregnancies and STDs. Palin’s daughter has spoken about how she wished she knew how having a child would change her life and wants to be a spokesperson for teens.

Look, sex is awesome. We’re driven to it and by it, and those facts are inescapable. It’s simply impossible to pretend that’s not so, that minors can somehow be talked into ignoring it, and/or that they can be sheltered from it. It’s also ridiculous to assume that if you punish more and more severely those who indulge their curiosities about it, that it’ll inspire or scare the rest back into the dark. That’s completely irrational.

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17 Responses to “They’re out of control”

  1. I think the religious right wants a ‘sex-switch’ which can be thrown right after the ‘I Do’s’. Absolutely no sexual knowledge, sexual feelings, sexual curiosity until the ring is on the finger. Then allow the sex drive (the natural sex drive) to appear. Of course, that would also make it easier for the predators (and there are shitloads of them (just glance at MoJoey’s blog)) to prey on the teens. I think denial of the natural sexuality of humanity is part and parcel with denying that humans are natural.

    The kids with the cell phones and photos are about 30 miles from where I live and the local response from the religious has been to throw them in jail. Normal people I talk to think it is absurd to bring charges.

  2. 5thgraders who viewed porn could face chargesSo would the kid who steals his dad’s Playboy and brings it to school to show his friends be sent to jail, too?

  3. Given the modern fungelical bent we seem to have, probably. Just wait until they start passing laws against masturbation, you’ll see 99% of the nation behind bars.

  4. phillychief: probably.

    this is a natural outgrowth of zero tolerance policies that criminalize a 5 year old pointing a chicken nugget at another 5 year old and saying “bang”.

  5. It should be continue to be illegal for porn companies to exploit this kind of underage teenager sex thing though. I don’t know where the parents are in all of this, but I suppose it is just as hard to stop because it is tough to legislate biology.

    Are we coming to an authoritarian world that we’re living in here? I don’t like the fact that a simple 10-over speeding ticket costs $150, I don’t like the fact that getting caught riding the lightrail without a ticket costs $75 even in spite of the fact that taxes are paying for a new one, I don’t like it when there are petty fines for everything, but perhaps that could be the solution.

    What if there were a $200 fine for purchasing underage porn? Even then, it would be too authoritarian for the government to be monitoring our computers and taking up our internet bandwidths at all times with Obamasecurity.exe or whatever horrors that we are all coming too.

  6. I’m completely against fines, because, like with speeding tickets, once government grows accustomed to getting those funds from the fines, then they’re not going to ever address the problem. Instead, they’ll just let it go, perhaps even encourage it in order to make even more money off of fines.

    If there REALLY was a concern for safe driving, they wouldn’t allow cars to be sold in the US that go over 70mph. Likewise, if there’s a fine for kiddie porn, they’ll never completely get rid of kiddie porn.

    Cephus, I think 99% is a modest estimate.

  7. My bet, playing it safely here, is that no porn website has 100% college aged girls on it. There is too much incentive for the porn industry to be out recruiting new young hot girls.

    Even look at what happens with women celebrities and tennis or gymnastic athletes when they are high school aged where everybody goes around saying “they’re hot” and stuff….there are likely to be tons of people downloading their sexy celebrity photos and videos online before they actually turned 18. Even then, after they turn 18, there still is the question of whether the photos are the celebrity pre- or post-18 years of age, I think.

    I think the reason why 18 is the legal demarkation into adulthood is mainly tied into the public education system though. If people aren’t old enough to be supporting themselves then they shouldn’t be having lots of sex or else they’ll end up on welfare or with child support while not having the work experience to be making above minimum wage. That, of course, is the failure of our public school systems which is a beaurocratic mess. People need to learn how to be responsible and need to learn real life skills that are actually pertinant to living in the real world when they are in grade school and high school.

    Then, there is the question of why anybody would work minimum wage or get an office job when the porn industry is willing to pay them big time to produce slutty movies. To these young chicks, it’s like they’re getting paid to do something that’s illegal and fun, perhaps experimenting with drugs as well.

  8. Stories like these really piss me off. Some segments of American society are so retrograde it’s frightening. I shudder to think what adolescence will be like for my grandchildren (who don’t exist yet, but I expect that they will one day). We may well look back on the 70s as the “good old days” and actually be telling the truth.

  9. I think things went south when kids first had to wear helmets and pads just to ride a fucking bike.

  10. From a probability standpoint, safety is important. The insurance companies will call you a liability if you don’t wear a helmit and seatbelt while you’re driving around your Big Wheel.

  11. This Kid is breaking about 3 pedal vehicle laws you know.

  12. I just want to emphasize that this problem comes to us courtesy of both the right (evangelicals) and left (radical feminism). In fact, both sides are bridged by the general Puritanical spirit of the American zeitgeist. We are a fucked up bunch of monkeys.

  13. “That’s completely irrational.”

    It wouldn’t be a moral panic if it wasn’t irrational.

  14. You may have a point there. No point in just trying to punish the action without getting to the heart of it, and it’s a missed opportunity for education.

  15. Ugh.

    This witch hunt won’t help at all, only ruin the lives of the fundamentally decent kids, and make junior skeevs-in-training be sneakier. And you know who’ll make money off it, fines or not? Computer whizzes who invent downloadable programs to scramble pictures or erase them if someone tries to view messages or phone info without a password.

    Hell, if there isn’t freeware floating around the interwebz that’ll do just that, I’ll smile and kiss a pig.

    All these people are doing is teaching their children to be more clever than The Man. Not a hard thing to do, even these days.

  16. It’s all got very out of control, kids passing porn pictures to other kids has been happening for hundreds of years. Why all of a sudden are these kids being thrown in jail?
    What harm are they doing to themselves and the community?
    I’d say none.

  17. Very interesting point of view. I agree, that severe punishment of kids who indulge their curiosities about sex will not do the changes. There should be other solutions for this problem.

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