Don’t Punish Pennsylvania Teens for “Sexting”

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Target: Pennsylvania Representative Seth Grove

Goal: Remove law in Pennsylvania that accuses teenagers of a misdemeanor for sending nude pictures.

In today’s society, privacy is a very valued thing, but can easily be violated due to the use of technology. This especially applies to today’s teenagers who do most of their communicating over cell phones. Although technology is being used more to hold conversations, this does not mean that people’s privacy should be violated more often as well. The law in Pennsylvania states that teenagers caught “sexting”, or sending nude photos to one another, will be sentenced to community service and be forced to pay fines. While this crime has decreased from being a felony, the punishment for sending private messages is still much too harsh. In order for law enforcement to even discover these pictures, they must invade the privacy of the cell phone user and go through all of their personal text conversations. If someone was listening in on a personal phone call of yours with a significant other, this would not be acceptable, so why is this same invasion of privacy acceptable in the world of texting?

While it is understandable that adults with text messages containing nude pictures of teenagers would face a felony due to the fact that it is child pornography, the innocent curious exchanges of fellow teenagers should not be a crime. This law gives authorities the right to invade people’s personal privacy and read text messages. This clear violation of privacy is intrusive and unacceptable. What is the difference between “sexting”, which is illegal, and teenagers actually having sex, which is legal? If anything, it’s actually safer for them to merely send pictures rather than engaging in actual sexual encounters. In order to protect our own privacy as well as the privacy of teenagers, the law against “sexting” in Pennsylvania must be revoked.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Seth Grove,

Your legislation making “sexting” a crime must be removed. While it is understandable to convict an adult engaging in these activities with a teenager, it is not necessary to punish fellow teenagers for being curious and “sexting”. This law is not only close-minded and outdated, but it is also an extreme violation of privacy. Texting is a very popular and convenient form of communication, so it is being used more often to carry out full conversations. People are now sending more important and personal information over text messages, and they should not have to worry about these private messages being read.

Having a phone conversation and engaging in phone sex is not a crime, so why should “sexting”, which is essentially the same thing, be considered illegal? Teenagers who choose to send nude pictures know who they are sending them to and usually trust them enough to keep the photo private. If officials are allowed to invade people’s privacy, not only are these pictures going to be seen by law enforcement, but likely also the parents of the teenager once he or she is convicted of a crime. Imagine sending something private to someone you trust only to have it seen by several more people than intended like law enforcement and family. This law is extremely invasive and violates people’s privacy. In order to protect the privacy of teenagers in Pennsylvania, the law against “sexting” must be removed.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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