According to Walters of Weston, Garrou, Walters & Mooney, 20 percent of teens have admitted to sending or posting nude or semi-nude photos of themselves through the use of cell phones. The trend has been has been identified as child pornography by several lawmakers and thus teens nationwide are being labeled as sex offenders.
“On the ‘Today Show’ one guest will argue that teens should be charged under child porn laws and made out to be sex offenders,” Walters told XBIZ. “I will argue that we should take a fresh look at this issue and treat this as more of a social problem — with education, not incarceration.”
Walters added that current child pornography laws have not caught up with technology, and while some states have altered them — including Utah and Ohio — he will be on the show to advocate the decriminalization of teen sexting.
“These laws are lumping in teens with the country’s worst pedophiles,” Walters said. “They are destroying a child’s life before he or she even gets a chance to live it.”
Teens across the country have been charged with felonies and sentenced as sex offenders, which translates into jail time, being required to register in the sex-offender database and even losing the right to vote — all before the age of 18, he said.
Walters said teens are unaware of all the potential criminal charges they face and see the act of sexting as something common and harmless among their age group.
“This is something parents should discuss with their children,” Walters said. “Legally, we need to carve out exceptions in dealing with these cases, rather than throwing kids in jail unnecessarily.”
The “Today Show” airs on NBC from 7-9 a.m. Segments as well as the full broadcast of the show also are available at Today.msnbc.msn.com.