Flowers? Forget it.
Candy? Come on...
"Sexting" is the new way teens are telling their boyfriends and girlfriends they heart them on Valentine's Day, according to a local sheriff's office.
What is sexting? It's when someone sends a nude picture of himself or herself to another person from a cell phone. Sexually explicit messages are optional because, as we all know, sometimes a picture says a thousand words...
The practice has made its way to the D.C. region. The Stafford County, Va., Sheriff's Office said it looked into 14 cases of sexting during the 2007-08 school year and already received reports on eight cases in the first four months of the 2008-09 school year. And yes, they report the trend is continuing.
What's the big deal? Well, besides making their parents mad, embarrassing their entire family and possibly jeopardizing any future in college or as a political figure, it's against the law.
Taking a sexually explicit picture of a child (anyone under the age of 18) is manufacturing child pornography, according to Virginia law. Sending that picture (electronically or otherwise) is distribution of child pornography. Receiving such pictures is possession of child porn. All of these crimes could result in a maximum of five to 20 years in jail.
Laws, laws laws... Way to ruin all the fun. What's a kid to do these days for fun, go to the mall and hang out with friends? As if!
But laws aren't stopping teens (and others, for that matter) from sexting it up. According to a study released in December, 20 percent of 13- to 19-year-olds admitted to having sent explicit images of themselves over a cell phone or e-mail. And a whopping 48 percent said they received sexually suggestive e-mails or text messages.
Kids these days!
There are even groups on Facebook and MySpace created for those who have sent and received sext messages. No, we're not linking to them here. But we will link to The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy study so you can check out the rest.