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Sexting: Think before you send

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Sexting: Think before you send

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People don’t seem to learn that sexting causes problems. Believe it or not, taking near naked photos can backfire.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children defines sexting as “writing sexually explicit messages, taking sexually explicit photos of [one’s self] or others in their peer group, and transmitting those photos and/or messages to their peers.” This doesn’t exclude other sources of multimedia, such as videos conveying sexual references.

Although a person may intend to send an image to one certain individual, many times those ‘sexts’ are forwarded to others. A study from Harvard University declared that 38 percent of teens say that they have had sexually suggestive text messages or emails that were meant for someone else shared with them. Not only does sexting give a person a bad reputation, it gives a spurned boyfriend or girlfriend the ability to mass message the images.

Anyone can be ruined by sexting, including students at Central. Leaked photos and videos have been circulated throughout the school. An anonymous student who was involved in a scandal experienced the associated backlash. “I was scared to go to school. I missed a couple days and pretended to be sick, so I wouldn’t have to go. I knew everyone would look at me differently especially because nobody knows the story behind it. People were just hearing rumors,” the student said.

Take a look at celebrity Kim Kardashian. Sure, now she’s known for her 72 day marriage to Kris Humphries and her series of E! reality shows, but she became famous through a leaked sex tape. The fact that she’s a celebrity makes it harder for her to overcome the stigma of her scandal.

Even the former director of the CIA, David Petraeus was forced to resign amid a scandalous affair involving series of emails with his mistress. Although consequences aren’t as extreme for those of us who don’t hold such powerful positions, sexting still brings detrimental effects. Peers will remember your scandal, not who you are.

My advice is to carry on a healthy relationship, using technology for social rather than physical purposes. This way, you can carry on conversations without the fear of a serious backlash. As the anonymous student said, “Nothing can be deleted forever; anything you say, send, or take can be tracked down and used against you, so you must be extra cautious with what you do.”

A picture is worth a thousand words. Make sure that the next picture you send is not worth a thousand rumors.

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