Friday, May 1, 2009

Sexting: What You Need to Know Before Hitting 'Send'

Sexting, or sex texting, is a new trend among teens and young adults in which individuals sends sexually explicit, usually nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves to other teens and young adults. However fun or cool this practice sounds, it isn't without risks or consequencies. Be smart and consider the following before taking that picture or hitting "send":
  • Keep in mind that you loose control over who sees it once you hit 'send' and it goes to another person's phone. Regardless of what a person tells you they intend to do with the picture, once it's on their phone, they could save or distribute copies without your knowledge or permission.
  • Once you hit 'send' and it's in cyberspace, you can't take it back. Much like wildfire and rumors, sexually explicit pictures tend to spread quickly. Once you hit 'send' and it goes to another person's phone, the image could be saved and/or distrubuted through a variety of means, including on the internet. Once it's reached the internet, it's all but almost impossible to track down and remove all the copies of such images and they may circulate around the internet for years.
  • Your pictures may get into the wrong hands and go from cool and sexy to embarasssing. The images could be received by and used in a malicious or otherwise a threatening way by someone with a grudge or who otherwise dislikes you.
  • If you're under 18, it could land you in serious legal hot water. Possesion of sexually explicit images of any person under 18 is illegal and could result in charges ranging from misdemeanor to felony and probation, heavy fines, or even jail time, depending on how the images were used and the jurisdiction. Also, if you were caught during school hours, you could lose your scholarship, the ability to participate in extra-circicular activities, or even face suspension.

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