I haven’t been able to move this week for news about ‘sexting’. I must confess that I was only vaguely familiar with the term, thinking it had been made up by a journalist for publicity purposes and wasn’t a real problem. How wrong I was. Now I read that teenagers in the US and Australia have killed themselves when their boyfriends/girlfriends have emailed/MMSed ‘compromising’ pictures to school mates/parents, usually after they’ve split up. But in a worrying twist it now seems that so-called compromising pictures posted on social networks are being used as evidence in court to mitigate in cases of sex crime.
Today’s Metro reports that a 15 year old teenage boy who had sex with an 11 year old girl walked free after the court was shown scantily clad pictures of her on Bebo, one with the caption “Tits Oot” (she is Scottish). She also referred to herself on Bebo as a “banging baby.”
Of course, it seems the girl was silly for posting these ‘compromising’ images on the site, but does that really excuse the actions of the 15 year old boy who was put on probation for two years, but excused a jail sentence as a result of the evidence presented in court. I suppose the big question here is what responsibilty should Bebo bear in all this. It seems to me that 11 year olds like this need to be protected by social networking sites as much as possible.