SC lawmakers consider sexting ban

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- From doodling a message to sending a sexually suggestive picture, technology is changing the way teens communicate.

The trend of sexting is alarming South Carolina lawmakers.

The intent is not to criminalize a minor for making a stupid mistake, but we want to get their attention, says Rep. Joan Brady, R-Richland, who filed the House bill.

The anti-sexting bill would make it illegal for juveniles ages 12 to 17 to knowingly transmit lewd photos via cell phone or computer.

If passed, offenders would have to pay a $100 fine and complete an educational program.

The bill was up for debate Wednesday in a House subcommittee, but legislators didn TMt get to it.

More than 20 states have considered similar legislation.

A survey by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy report 20 percent of teens said they have electronically sent explicit photos of themselves.

Columbia resident Tige Howie has a five-year-old son.

Right now, Howie is not concerned about his child sending and receiving obscene message, but says it TMs never too early for a parent to become educated on these types of issues.

I think as a parent, the biggest thing you are afraid of are mistakes your child will make that will last, Howie says.

He doesn't believe the bill will make a difference in teens' behavior because it's ultimately up to parents to help keep their children out of trouble.

Brady hopes the anti-sexting bill will create awareness for families about the implications of sexting. She adds that action will likely be taken on the bill in the coming weeks.