New Hampshire Lawmakers Addressing Concerns About Teens and Sexting
Manchester Education Examiner
August 19, 2009
Cell phones have become a contested technology item in schools. So much so that some states are considering banning all cell phone use within school zones. For example, Texas' law goes into effect September 1, 2009.
As New Hampshire students return to the classroom this fall they may be followed by new state legislation. Though the state is not currently drafting legislation to ban cell phones in school zones, they are working to address concerns about sexting.
Sexting is the primarily teen practice of sending illicit photos of themselves using their cell phones. The practice is considered criminal and, in some legal cases, has been identified as child pornography and resulted in teens being charged with sex crimes.
New Hampshire legislators are currently considering legislation similar to what New Jersey has proposed. Essentially, instead of teens being charged with possessing or distributing pornography with a cell phone, they would be required to attend an educational program. This program would be designed to teach teens about the state, federal and personal consequences involved with sexting.
What can schools do to prevent sexting during school hours? Schools can ban cell phone use, but students still bring them. Schools can inform students about the legal and social consequences of texting. If they suspect illegal use, teachers and administrators can confiscate the phones, but there is still controversy as to whether they can view anything on them without a search warrant.
What can parents do to prevent sexting? Support the school's rules concerning cell phone use. Have an open conversation with kids concerning sexting. Check the messages, text and photo, on your child's cell phone.