A commentary and resource on Law and Sexuality by Professor Chris Ashford and guests
Thank heavens I’m not a parent. The world seems an increasingly dangerous place and like those packets of peanuts with the notice: ‘Warning, May Contain Nuts’, parents perhaps feel increasingly obliged to warn their children of the perils they might face. We live, or so it seems, in the age of warnings.
Technology is probably on that list, but what of mobile devices and their cameras? This little story reports on a recent incident in the US suggests that despite the permeation of warnings about the use of technology, young people act in such a way as to seemingly ignore such caution.
A 21 year old male is accused of distributing paedophile images via Facebook. The photos were taken at a rave and feature a 16 year old girl having sex with a ‘young’ man. According to the story, ‘the young man and young women were having sex in a field in open view of the crowd at the rave. Multiple bystanders, upon seeing them in flagrante delicto, rushed over to take pictures, as one witness testified, with such frequency that camera flashes were popping “like lightning.”
The images were arguably not intended to sexually arouse, but rather were part of a joke, but the ease with which child pornography can today be produced is astonishing, and transforms young people – and unwitting viewers (such as this guys friends on Facebook) into paedophiles as far as the law is concerned.
In doing so, this also serves to deconstruct our collective concept of what a paedophile is – and should legally, culturally, politically – be. Instead, this seems to feed into what seems to be a growing moral panic surrounding the sexting phenomenon (although, see some interesting socio-legal news coming out of Australia today on this).