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Sexting and the generation gap

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The ‘sexting’ story on today’s front page boggles the imagination of most of us over 40. Heck, I can’t figure out how to make my phone stop ringing when I don’t want to answer, let alone send a photo of myself to others — dressed or undressed!

More pertinent, of course, is the question of why anyone, of any age, would want to send a photo of themselves in a compromised pose to someone else they knew. Back in the 1960s, the term ‘generation gap’ meant that our parents didn’t understand the sexual revolution and the anti-war sentiments of our generation. It was a new era with new values for the changing times.

If ‘sexting’ is somehow setting new social values in this rapidly changing digital era, I have to admit I don’t get it.

I do understand the digital revolution is ushering in a new era of communication, and with it comes a wide range of access to many things in the online world. That pornography is among them is one of the ills of this expanded world, not just because of the prevalence of hard-core material, but also because its very prevalence loosens the moral standards by which societies judge themselves and establish mutually acceptable boundaries.

It’s the age-old consequence of progress: Along with the good, comes a little bad.

The House’s attempt to draft compromise legislation that clearly states ‘sexting’ crosses a boundary of decent behavior and can be dangerous to teens, but falls short of criminal behavior, is to be applauded. As the Senate rightly suggested, it would be a mistake to brand teens with criminal records for life for an immature act made in high school — but exempting any punishment for teens may have sent the message that it was somehow permissible.

The compromise proposal (see story Page 1A) seems to strike the right balance between upholding a moral standard and gently protecting teens from themselves.

Angelo S. Lynn

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