Sexting is trending all over the place. From celeb nudes being leaked to middle-school boys being arrested, the Internet has never been filled with so many amateur-shot boobs and bums. Get the low-down on what Sexting is, who’s doing it and why it might not be the best decision you’ve ever made.
Earlier this year, 2 middle-school boys from Chicago were arrested after authorities found sexually explicit videos and pics of a female classmate performing sex acts on another student. They’d been sharing this content to friends all over the school who had then been sharing it with other friends. After the school and authorities worked out who it was, all three were placed under arrest for trafficking child porn. All that from just a bit of sexting!
The recent scandal involving the leaking of nude pictures from more than 100 celebrities also shows that no matter who you are and how safe you think you are, sharing intimate photos can have consequences.
But what exactly is sexting? Merriam-Webster defines it as “the sending of sexually explicit messages or images by cell phone.” Put simply, it’s sending pictures of your genitals or sexually explicit texts to a friend, adult, whomever. It’s mainly popular with adults to put them in the mood for sex or as a way to help strengthen relationships, although recently more and more people under the age of 18 have been sending sexts out too.
The sexting craze became known around 10 years ago when texting came to the forefront of communication technology. However, as the evolution of the Internet picked up pace, and technology advanced similarly, it became easier and easier to share videos and images with people across the world. What used to take ages is sent within a minute, all from a swipe.
Whilst it’s illegal for the vast majority of teens under the age of 18 to view sexual content, a 2011 London School of Economics report revealed that 15% of teens from 11 to 16 years old had received sexual messages or images of people naked or having sex.
As well as being illegal for teens under 18, arguably the most damaging aspect of sexting is the embarrassing or devastating consequences that it can cause. It’s the not knowing who’s seeing the images or video that can leave sexters feeling vulnerable, shameful and upset.
So what do you do if you receive a sext from someone you know or even someone you don’t? Well if the model posing looks under 18 you should let the authorities know as soon as it arrives on your phone.
And what about if you’re thinking of sending sexts of yourself to your boyfriend or girlfriend? Well, don’t send stuff that you wouldn’t want your friends or families to see, is the best rule of thumb. However, being the teens that we are, we’re likely to go ahead and do so anyway and this is where sites such as Snapchat might be better in the long run due to their “self-destruct” feature. This won’t stop people from making a copy of the image (a simple screenshot is all it takes), but it does add another level of security, as after 10 seconds the photo deletes itself. The time-sensitive nature also adds a little zing by ensuring the viewer is paying attention for 10 seconds…
Besides, taking nude pictures is nowhere near as fun as having sex in the real world.