Every once in a while, a news organization latches onto some story about how teenagers have sex, finds an angle that sounds particularly salacious, and proceeds to freak the hell out of parents across the nation.

The latest manufactured outrage is "sexting" -- taking sexually explicit photos of yourself on your cell phone and sending them to others. Which is a completely new phenomenon now that it has a catchy name, and not something girls (and boys) have been doing since the advent of digital photos -- or really, since the advent of photos.

On the comics front, newspaper cartoon "Gil Thorpe" continues its desperate attempt to be modern by latching onto hot topics like Facebook, Youtube and now a new storyline about "sexting." Except that it's too chicken to push the envelope and actually discuss sex, so it invents a plot about a boy forwarding a picture of a classmate in a bikini. Which isn't "sexting," or really anything at all besides "forwarding a picture of a classmate in a bikini," but that doesn't stop "Gil Thorpe" in its quest to generate more fake moral panic.

Confidential to The Wall Street Journal blog, which dared to ask, "Why do teens engage in sexting?" I'm thinking it's because they're teenagers, and they're really interested in sex. That's just a guess, though, so don't let it stop you from speculating wildly about the moral depravity of kids today.

UPDATE: Texting, then sexting, then phone sex, then sex. (via Kiel Phegley)