The Mirror

The troubled world of teen sexting

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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Stateless Media, a Washington-based short documentary film company, enters what can be the dark world of teen sexting for Vanity Fair.

Something you might not know: “If you’re thirteen years old and you take a picture of your vagina and you send it to someone, you’re actually distributing child porn,” says a cop in the film who says the word “vagina” one too many times.

The company, in three four-minute films, addresses a variety of issues.

Part I: They look into the sexting epidemic that’s hitting schools and the serious repercussions it can have. In one case, a 17-year-old boy was having sex with his girlfriend, when unbeknownst to him, someone was filming them. The incident, he says, wound up busting up a two-year relationship. His parents equated the incident to rape and the sexting epidemic to AIDS. “It was horrifying the amount of people who saw it,” the teen shared.

Part II: Who gets prosecuted? In part two, they examine the legalities of sexting and just what is criminal. While teens may see it as “digital flirting” the police call it child porn. “Who wants to look at this stuff?” says a different cop who appears in the film. “It is uncomfortable. There is nothing comfortable about looking at child pornography.”

Part III: “Everything has gone to hell.” The doc returns to the 17-year-old boy from Part I. His dad says his wife wakes in the middle of the night to make sure their son isn’t swinging from a belt in his closet. In this short film, they investigate “whether sexting really matters.” In one shattering moment, a 13-year-old girl gets a text about her breasts that speaks to a fully clothed picture of herself. “Let’s see. Hmmm, great, here we go,” she says reading the vile words aloud. “‘No wonder everyone I’ve talked to calls you a slut.'”