When I was in high school, and it was long ago, in the early 1960s, some boys would send sexy messages to girls they liked or exchange dirty text with other boys with drawn figures of naked girls. If the teacher intercepted one of these messages he would sternly rebuke the offending party and simply discard the naughty note - no harm, no foul.
Today, in the era of zero tolerance, both the receiver and the sender of the dirty message could end up on a sex offender list for the rest of his or her life:
The Globe - Point Park University, 8 Dec 2010, Sexting: Freedom of Speech or Child Pornography?
Three Pennsylvania girls, 14 to 15 years old, and three boys, 16 or 17 years old, were charged with the manufacture, dissemination and possession of child pornography after the girls sent nude or semi-nude pictures to the male students' cell phones via text message.
No, no, no - there was no child pornography - no penis in a girl's mouth or other orifice. No sex act, no penetration. The only filth in cases like these are in the mind of overzealous prosecutors who use child pornography to enhance the activity from protected speech to a felony crime to advance their careeers. Sadly this country is filled with such prosecutorial maggots.
Sexting, is just another form of expression, no different than the graphic scribblings from my era, and absent any sexually explicit conduct, should be protected under the First Amendment. It should not be a matter for the police unless it is being spread without the consent of the parties involved.
Well, Bernie, you may ask, "How would you like it if your teenage granddaughters were sending topless photos of themselves to their friends?" My answer: that it is the business of their parents, not police, not prosecutors nor the government.