It’s not too surprising that just as the courts decided to go after “teen sexting” using child pornography laws that the media decided to descend on these policy changes with a vengeance. The trend is up +18 points at a TrendSignal of 65. While not even in the top-10 of Teen and Children topics, the increase was remarkable in its magnitude.
All it took were a few highly viral stories out of the UK for the topic to gain traction. For anyone with teenage children, the idea that they could be prosecuted as adults under harsh anti-child pornography laws definitely raises your interest and concern given the prevalence of smartphones and social media apps these days.
Here’s where the trend has been and its current media trajectory.
On both sides of the Atlantic, the police acting under the direction of local courts are beginning to treat teen sexting as child pornography, potentially leading to a possible criminal record and inclusion in various sexual predator databases for both girls and boys participating in this new social media behavior.
You can image the level of media attention that could ensue behind these initial coverage points if/when an actual case is brought against a teen using these laws. To date, most of the referenced cases have been anecdotal with just enough detail to keep the headlines fresh. Editors evaluating child and teen storylines are also juggling even more pressing child topics this month, including the ensuing violence in Gaza and its deadly affects on the children and families living in the region.
Here are the leading stories in the Teen and Children category to give you some additional perspective on broader issues in this media area. I included only those topical trends in which both the month increase and the year-over-year increase were above the category average.
Note that Runaway Youth and Children and Smoking show strong media traction this month. The former is driven by much of the child migration coverage coming out of the U.S. boarder issues facing the U.S. Smoking and Children pulled considerable media coverage as a result of the debate around flavored e-cigarettes (more on this in a later post).