We’ve seen plenty of cases of teens in trouble with the law for sexting and other social media scandals, but this unbelievable case out of North Carolina, in which two teens were charged as adults for child pornography over photos of themselves, is a new — and concerning — one.
During an investigation for an unrelated incident, authorities found nude photos on the phone of 17-year-od Cormega Copening that he took of himself when he was 16. The only person he sent them to was his 16-year-old girlfriend, Brianna Denson, who also sent Copening some nude pictures of herself. Neither posted the pictures to social media or otherwise distributed them. Still, they were prosecuted for sexually exploiting minors — even though they were the minors.
According to reports, they both took plea deals to avoid jail and having to register as sex offenders, but they both were still slapped with penalties, including having to agree to warrantless searches for a year. Wow.
When it comes to child pornography, zero tolerance seems like a good thing at first glance, but when it comes to cases like this, there are definitely some shades of gray. We might not love the idea of our kids taking naked pictures of themselves, but for them to be subjected to this kind of treatment under the law seems ludicrous.
The case is, however, a strong reminder to parents to stress to kids that you have to be extremely careful with recording, capturing, posting and sharing pretty much anything. Talk to them about sexting and its consequences; talk to them about how you never know where photos may wind up, as private as you think they are. Something you may think is harmless could land you in a mess of hot water. Pretty much, if you don’t want the whole world to see something, then don’t snap that picture, don’t hit record and certainly don’t share it on social media.