An Act Regarding Sexually Explicit Text Messaging by Minors
CONCEPT DRAFT SUMMARY
This bill is a concept draft pursuant to Joint Rule 208.
This bill proposes to prohibit sexually explicit text messaging, also known as sexting, by a minor in a manner different from the prohibition in current law. Sexting is the act of recording, copying or transmitting images, photographs or videos of a person's breasts, genitals, anus or pubic area using a telephone, computer, camera, memory device or other piece of electronic equipment. Sexting is a practice that is common and widespread among minors in the State, with minors sexting images of themselves and of other minors with and without consent of the persons who are the subjects of the images. The current provisions in the criminal law that prohibit sexting images of a minor do not except minors, even minors who transmit images of themselves, and potentially subject minors prosecuted for sexting to being listed on the sex offender registry for life. This bill would create exceptions or other avenues in the law to discourage sexting by minors and provide educators and other adults with tools to prevent sexting and to punish minors short of treating them as sexual predators or serious criminals as current law does.