Suffer the children, the please make it stop edition

This photo is not pornographic! Unless you want it to be. It’s just Jack and his new pony.

Two topics seem to be urgently circling back on news items we’ve been following here for a while. Neither will make you happy or horny, and for that I will promise to make it up to you, but they are important and need more media coverage.

* On January 29, 2009 in the San Francisco Chronicle I wrote Kids Charged for Child Porn (Violet Blue: When Teens Make Their Own Porn, Who’s Being Exploited?). It focused on three girls from Pennsylvania who had just been charged with manufacturing, disseminating or possessing child pornography — for taking half-nude self-portraits and texting them to male classmates. As I mentioned in my article, this has been happening all over the country; essentially criminalizing teen sexuality and (in my opinion) outright abuse of child porn laws. Now things have gone utterly, completely insane — and Radley Balko at Reason Magazine has the latest scary updates in Ruining Kids in Order to Save Them: The boneheaded logic behind treating “sexting” teens as child pornographers. (

* April 14, 2009 I wrote “we’re just still living the waking nightmare of abstinence education in public schools” in Pull Out And Pray, and before that I wrote Obama’s national sex ed program: Violet Blue lays the groundwork for the candidate to save our kids from the evils of sex ed, once and for all. That piece went into RH Reality Check, the UN sponsored health and contraception news website. But this week it’s as if no one read the CDC’s report from last summer, which read Teen pregnancy and disease rates rose sharply during Bush years, agency finds. And now Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) is talking about the need for comprehensive sex education programs after the release of a study yesterday indicating that 2006 was the first year since 1990 where teen pregnancy rates rose in the US. She better hurry up.

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  1. I couldn’t agree more: making felons and life-long registered sex offenders out of teenagers for “sexting” is an outright and irrational abuse of child pornography laws, and, yes, definitely another indication of the need for comprehensive sex education. Well said.

  2. As a professional photographer and filmmaker for 25 years, ability of the camera to transform legal, conceptual actives into thought crimes continues to leave me gobsmacked.

    As it happens, not to long ago I received a call from a former mentor of mine. He had discovered his teenaged daughter had been engaging in camera-play with her boyfriend, and (after dealing with it in an entirely appropriate and loving way) felt like he needed to unburden himself by giving me a call.

    More recently my older daughter (9) who we had just given a camera phone so we can all exchange video hellos sent me a video clip of her younger sister (4) swimming in the bath tub. My first thought after watching it was “maybe I shouldn’t keep this on my phone.” and then my next thought was “No I won’t take this off my phone. I will not give in to this madness.”

    Satanic Ritual Killing proved to be nothing more than mass hysteria, but before the witchhunt died down people’s lives were ruined. How many children are going to become registered sex offenders before we come to our senses about this?

  3. Teens convicted on child pornography charges for sexting happens here in Australia too. It’s really problematic that the law takes so long to catch up with technology. Luckily, NSW is looking into whether these convictions can be spent so these kids aren’t classed as a sex offender for the rest of their lives.

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