Practice Safe Texting

March 13, 2009

Think Before You TextIt seems like every other day a new story about teens texting nude photos pops up in the news. This cultural phenomenon has been called “sexting,” and as many as 20 percent of teens say they have sent or posted nude or seminude pictures or videos of themselves, according to a recent survey.

It’s OK to be flirty and feel sexy, but sexting isn’t harmless fun. You have no control over what happens to those pics—or your reputation—when sexting. Here’s a list of five things to think about before you hit “send” from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and

  • Don’t assume anything you send or post is going to remain private. Your messages and images could get passed around, even if you think they won’t.
  • There is no changing your mind in cyberspace-anything you send or post will never truly go away. Even if you have second thoughts and delete a racy photo, there is no telling who has already copied that photo and posted it elsewhere.
  • Don’t give in to the pressure to do something that makes you uncomfortable, even in cyberspace.
  • Consider the recipient’s reaction. Just because a message is meant to be fun doesn’t mean the person who gets it will see it that way.
  • Nothing is truly anonymous. Even if someone only knows you by your screen name, online profile, phone number or e-mail address, they can probably find you if they try hard enough.

These tips don’t just apply to texting; posting racy or nude pics to your MySpace profile can have negative consequences as well. Check out this public service announcement from the Ad Council, urging you to think before you post:

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