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Safe sexting

Diane Gallagher
Assoc. Features Editor

According to dosomething.org 22 percent of teenagers ages 14 to 17 and 33 percent of college-age students ages 18 to 24 have been involved in some form of nude “sexting.” Sexting is defined as sending, receiving, or forwarding suggestive photos or videos of oneself or another person using one’s cell phone.
According to a 2012 Pew report:
• 15 percent of adult cell phone owners have received a sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photo or video of someone that they know on their cell phone.
• 6 percent of adult cell phone owners have sent a sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photo or video of themselves to someone else using their cell phone.
• 3 percent of adult cell phone owners have forwarded a sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photo or video of someone that they know on their cell phone.

Sexting is growing in popularity, but so is revenge pornography.
Sexting is growing in popularity, but so is revenge pornography.

With “sexting” growing in popularity, the number of reports of “revenge pornography” is also growing rapidly. Revenge porn is the posting of a nude photograph or video of another person, which is publicly shared online. It is most commonly by an ex-lover, for the purpose of cruel humiliation.
In a world where technology has made it possible for anything to be copied, sent, posted, and seen by a large number of people, there is no way to control information after it has been shared with someone else. The last thing anyone would ever hope for is to have something they believed to be private shared with the world.
“I never thought of the consequences of sexting until you posed these questions,” said Dannon Stewart. “I should be more cautious about what I’m doing, because those pictures that I send out can be on any Smartphone or tablet.”
Digital abstinence is the only way to be sure that no explicit photos or videos of you are posted without your consent; however, if you decide it is worth the risk, here are a few tips for keeping your sexting safer:
1. Never show your face. While you’re at it crop, blur, or edit any and all identifying features. Either shoot the image so your face is out of frame, or block it out entirely with a solid color.
2. Don’t keep your sexts on your device. Once you’re done with them, delete them. This will help avoid the potential for someone to accidentally stumble upon them while looking at your photos.

Set ground rules with your partner before sending that sext.
Set ground rules with your partner before sending that sext.

3. Talk about safety measures with your significant other. If this is someone who can never find their cell phone, then you should be worried who else will find it. Be honest with your partner about what security measures you expect them to take when it comes to your private photos or videos.
4. Be ready to own up to it. There is always the risk that the material will get out. If this happens, confront the problem directly: letting it go unaddressed will only lead to gossip and half-truths.
As the Snapper’s beloved editor Danielle Kreider says, “I have no rules when sexting; personally I have no filter. My advice is think first, click later!”
There are resources available for revenge porn victims. While laws vary from state to state and are ever-changing, there is legal relief available most of the time. Withoutmyconsent.org and endrevengeporn.org are two websites with resources that victims may find helpful.