The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Proposed bill would involve parents in sexting education

By joshua knopp/managing editor

A proposed change in state law could have parents attending a special class with their children if the children are caught “sexting.”

Sexting is the sending of risqué text messages or explicit photos to another via phone. Currently, minors who send or receive these photos can be charged with felony possession and/or trafficking of child pornography.

“The problem is technology,” said Jay Green, human sexuality instructor on NW Campus. “Human nature hasn’t changed. When I was in high school, a girl would write her boyfriend a letter and it would be racy and that’s what she had. Now, she’ll take a picture of herself and send it to her boyfriend.”

The proposal, made by state Sen. Kirk Watson, would define sexting as its own infraction and change it from a felony with a sex offender tag to a Class C misdemeanor, which could be expunged if the child attends an educational course with a parent.

“The language that [Attorney General Greg] Abbott and I are working on will recognize that sexting is wrong, harmful, harmful to all of those who are affected by it, and illegal,” Watson said during a press conference. “It will give prosecutors an additional and, hopefully, a more appropriate tool to stamp out this problem.”

Green thought the idea was a good one but was skeptical about its implementation.

“Something needs to be put in place, but the problem is it’s going to be almost impossible to police,” he said. “Where are you going to draw the line? I think the concept is a good idea, but I really want to know what the fine print is going to say.”

The proposed law has inflamed the argument over whether or not kids need cell phones once more.

“I just can’t rationalize … cell phones for kids,” said Sara Hedrick, NW and South student and parent of two. “I got through high school perfectly fine without yet another distraction.”

A conflicting view comes from NE student Rianna Beasley, a single parent of one, whose child will eventually not be able to go out safely without a cell phone.

“Technology becoming the way it is, it’s safer that kids have cell phones, especially for single parents,” Beasley said. “I think having to go to that class with a parent could be a pretty big deterrent.”

Green had one piece of advice for parents on how to handle sexting, regardless of what the punishment for it becomes.

“What parents need to do is to make sure that their kids understand that every picture you take and send can be put on the Internet forever,” he said. “Parents, be careful when you give them a phone, you might want it to be a phone that is limited to calling and texting.”

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