Sexting is becoming an increasingly prevalent issue in our society. If you’re not “up” with the current lingo, sexting is the act of sending a sexually explicit picture of yourself to someone generally via text.
The main issue with sexting has been the use of it by teenagers under the age of 18. If they are caught or share the images, under current Australian laws they are charged with child pornography offences and placed on the sex offenders register. Now, thankfully, Australia is thinking of changing the law so that if you were lawfully able to have sex with that person (i.e. if they’re 16 or over) it wouldn’t be considered child pornography. However if you were to share the photo without that person’s permission you could be charged with an offence.
Although these new laws will stop teens from being placed on the sex offender register for simply receiving naked photos, I don’t think they tackle the bigger issue, which is that teenagers may not completely comprehend the consequences of what they’re doing. Once you hit send you can never ever get that picture back. Once someone else has this picture there is nothing (except their conscience) to stop them from sharing it.
There are now apps such as Snapchat that claim to make sexting safe by setting an expiry time on the photos, meaning that after a designated time the photo will be deleted from that person’s phone. It can also be set to alert you if the person tries to take a screen shot of the photo – however it has to be noted it does not stop the person from taking a screen shot, it just alerts you that they’re doing it. They could even go a step further and take a picture of the screen with a different camera and you would have no idea.
It was also recently uncovered that deleted Snapchat photos are never really deleted and can be recovered. [You can read the full article about that here.]
What young people these days need to be told is that once something’s on the Internet – it is on there FOREVER! You can delete the photo from somewhere like Facebook but there’s nothing to stop people from sharing it and posting it somewhere else. Even if you think you can trust the person you’re sending it to, it only takes them showing it off to one friend.There are now Facebook groups and Twitter streams dedicated to sharing intimate snapchats.
Although this may not seem like such a big deal now, it may come back to haunt you when you’re older and looking for a job.
There is only one sure way to protect your photos – don’t take them!