Don’t show me yours, I won’t show you mine

Today the BBC has reported that a 14yr old boy has been officially recorded as having committed a sex crime.

He’s not raped or sexually assaulted anyone, but has sent a naked selfie of himself to a girl in his school. She then forwarded it on to others, and her details have also been registered. The consequences for both, I suspect, have turned out far greater than they could ever have imagined.

Sexting, especially amongst kids, obviously has its dangers: images can be passed on to those with unsavoury intentions, or be used in ways far beyond your control. Many of us in the sex-blogosphere have indulged, but at least as adults we can more easily make informed decisions about the consequences. As the BBC article points out, had the boy been over 18, he might have been considered the victim, as redistributing the image could have been viewed in the context of revenge porn, a problem which is being increasingly tackled by courts. And rightly so.

The thing that troubles me is that these children have been recorded as committing criminal acts.  Obviously the world has changed since I was at school, not least in the context of digital images and their distribution. But when I was 14, it was far from unheard of for a boy and a girl to go behind the bike sheds and for one to offer I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. It was, to a degree, how we learned about gender. It was, for the most part, relatively harmless, and those of us who had such experiences have, for the most part, survived relatively unscathed. So why is it that those who had a fumble behind the bike sheds are now so outraged when their children disappear behind a virtual bike shed for exactly the same reason?

I don’t know what the answer is, least of all as a parent, and should I ever have to deal with a similar situation, I have no idea how I will feel. But it seems harsh, to me, that a civilised society should effectively criminalise children for being normal.

6 Responses to “Don’t show me yours, I won’t show you mine”

  1. The laws haven’t caught up with the technology unfortunately. I have a 15 and 13 year old. Since they got cell phones at 12, we’ve be very open about the lifelong effects sexting could have on them. Here just receiving a naked pic of an underage girl has resulted in kids being charged with possession of child pornography so we’ve stressed what do if someone sends them a pic as well. Honestly until the laws change this is all we can do.

  2. Frank Friend Says:

    The morality police have gone overboard. This is largely normal childhood development and exploration and is being turned into criminal activity and police monitoring. Crazy.

  3. I always wonder the same. How people who have behaved the exact same way in their youth are suddenly outraged at their children’s behavior. Yes, the mode of delivery is different, but the intent is the same. I guess now the only difference is proof of indiscretion.

    • There is also the difference that showing a girl your willy became nothing but hearsay once you both walked out from behind the bikeshed, whereas with the Internet proof can be anywhere in the world within seconds. But I agree entirely about double standards.

  4. miss agatha armstrong Says:

    We live in a truely stupid world – bring back the bike sheds is all I can say… poor fellow x

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