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Sexting ban bill needed in Ohio

May 28, 2010
Salem News

A sexting-ban bill that passed through the Ohio House Wednesday is one designed to protect young people from others - and themselves.

Sexting is an emerging concern. When it comes to social networking, words and images sent oftenspill -deliberately or not - across cyberspace for hundreds to access. The explicit images are passed along like buckets in a fire brigade line. Resulting complications, sometimes grave, have occurred. Often explicit images are seen by more eyes than those belonging to the intended recipient. Consequences can range from pure shame and embarrassment to the images being exploited by pedophiles, predators and porn-driven scum.

Youth caught sexting would not have to register as sex offenders for transmitting nude photos of minors, including themselves. The bill, approved by an 86-12 vote, would send young sexting offenders to juvenile court for punishment that would not include jail. The legislation will now be sent to the Ohio Senate.

This is a good approach to a growing issue. Jail would be too harsh unless the sexting results in a spinoff crime. But legal repercussions need to be in place - whether a fine, probation, community service or house arrest. The assumption is that many young people sending such images clearly intend for those to go to just one person and not a mass audience. Sure it's foolish and, at times, dangerous. But blame can go to the naivete, dumb innocence and the sheer recklessness of being young.

Everyone sending explicit images over the net can't be policed. That is a logistical impossibility. But if young people are aware of legal consequences, then perhaps the bill will end up serving as a deterrent and ultimately protect the youth from others - and themselves.

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Rules for the four new gambling casinos being planned for Ohio are being set by the General Assembly. Lawmakers seem to be insisting on a responsible approach.

For example, a proposal in the state Senate would not allow casinos to serve complimentary drinks to customers. It also would ban casinos from admitting those younger than 21.

Gambling promoters don't like such limits on their business - and rest assured, even if they are established, casino interests will seek to have them amended out of the law at a later date.

But we do not believe voters who agreed to allow casinos in Ohio want the facilities to be operated without some limits, such as those safeguarding younger people and gamblers who may tend to be less cautious about their money after they have a few drinks under their belts. Reasonable restrictions, such as those outlined above and others such as a proposal to bar convicted felons from working in most casino jobs, are appropriate. Legislators ought to resist pressure to abandon the safeguards and should make them part of the rules for casinos planned for Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo.

 
 

 

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