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New Technology Meets Old Law 

New Technology Meets Old Law
New Technology Meets Old Law

Albert J. Grudzinskas

, Richard Cody

, Sara J. Brady

, Fabian M. Saleh

, and Jonathan Clayfield

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date: 13 June 2021

Sexual expression has long been a topic for legal concern and consideration. The U.S. Supreme Court has a long history of jurisprudence considering the tensions between topics of freedom of expression, pornography, child pornography, and computer-generated “virtual” pornography. This chapter will consider a variety of examples where electronic technologies (e.g., Internet, cellphone, social networking sites, instant messaging) that influence adolescent sexual behavior in increasingly complicated ways have come into contact with the law. The chapter will frame the discussion for the chapters to follow by providing an overview of the existing Supreme Court decisions regarding pornography and the First Amendment. Since many jurisdictions have chosen to frame their response to perceived abuse of these technologies by adolescents in terms of child pornography laws, particular attention will be paid to child pornography. The extraordinary availability of material occasioned by the development of the Internet will be discussed in terms of its impact on adolescents. The chapter will also discuss the impact of Federal Sentencing Guidelines and the Supreme Court’s decision regarding disproportionate sentencing and the mandates of the sentencing guidelines. The chapter will also consider the development of laws related to cybersexual bullying, sex offender registry laws, and attempts by various jurisdictions to develop laws that address all these issues.

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