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For starters, you have no idea what the other person might do with your sexts. A survey by Drexel University last year showed that more than half of respondents (54 percent) engaged in sexting as minors, and 28 percent of those sent photographic sexts.
In some states, having any nude photos of a minor is considered child pornography, which could result in a lengthy sentence and having to register on the sex-offender list. Learn their intentions and that they're of legal age. Hopefully, you also trust that they would never do anything with your sexts to harm or insult you, although that should be made explicit.
And remember that they could be intercepted on your end, or your sexting partner's end. Anyone can take a screenshot of their phone or computer, or even use another device to take a picture of a screen.
"There is an unavoidable risk that your sexts will be seen by someone other than the intended recipient," Moen mentioned. And once the original is copied, each copy can be copied and transmitted an infinite number of times.
Just having a computer with a webcam can make you a target for so-called "sextortion." And sexting safely doesn't mean that your ex won't decide to publish your sexts because she or he is mad you broke up. You'll never be 100 percent protected from it, but you can do your part to not participate in it, and you can have that much-needed conversation with your sexting partners about your mutual responsibilities.
"When you receive a consensual sext, it is your responsibility to be a decent human being by never ever sharing it with anyone else," Moen told us.
"Whether you have your trust intentionally betrayed or [your sexting partners'] have their accounts hacked, the end result is still the same: You may be exposed." She added, "If the consequences will be traumatic (like losing your ability to financially support yourself, losing custody of your children, feeling suicidal, etc.), you should probably hold off on sexting. There is no way to assure total security for a digital file. If you're a high-profile person, such as a celebrity or politician, or if you have some other delicate facet to your life (e.g., you're an elementary school principal or a member of the clergy), you may have more to lose if your sexts were leaked to the public, a board of trustees, your boss, and so forth.
Are you into flirty or dirty text messages only, or are pictures and videos on the table, too?
"The important part of that sentence is 'consensually,'" wrote Moen, who is an advocate for more responsible sexting.
"Sexting should be enjoyable and wanted by both people.
Do you want to make sure your sexting partner only sends you messages when you're at home?
Set some ground rules and don't be afraid to turn down options that make you feel uncomfortable or vulnerable.
For better or worse, electronic communications are part of our lives. So if you're going to be sexting, you should learn exactly what the risks are so you can assess them and deal with them. Your guide to safer sexting starts with a quick overview of what we mean by "sexting." While some people define sexting as digitally sharing nude or explicit photos and videos only, we also include text-based messages of a sexual nature in our definition.