Sexting consists of sending sexual images or videos, produced by the sender himself, mainly through the mobile phone, or by other technological devices. The term is an anglicism that comes from uniting the word sex, and texting, sending messages. Its beginnings were in Anglo-Saxon countries in 2005, which have gradually spread to the rest of the world.
To differentiate sexting from grooming it is important to note that in the first case, the images or videos are made by the same sender voluntarily or by another person, but whoever stars in them gives their consent., When minors perform sexting with the harasser deceived, or coerced, it would not be sexting as such, since although in some cases it is voluntary they are being deceived. Sexting differentiates between two actors, those who perform the act of filming, active sexting, or those who receive the images, passive sexting.
Some young people do it as a gift to their partners, as an element of flirting or attracting attention. The risk that this practice contains is that the receiver can send images or broadcast them to have them, or use them to coerce to obtain more images, or other objectives. An inadvertent distribution due to carelessness or error is also possible.
…consists of sending (sender) images or videos of sexual content by mobile phone to their pairs (receiver). The person who stars in these videos or images is the same as the sender and they do in voluntarily.
Active sexting is when the person takes photos or videos with suggestive or sexual poses and sends them to another person.
Passive sexting is when people receive photos taken by other people.
Why is sexting thus a potential threat for children and young adults? It is a serious danger on the Internet because, after sending these images, the sender loses all control over them. In this way, this content can reach many more people for various reasons:
- The recipient purposely sends that content to other people, who forward it again endlessly until they reach a very wide audience.
- The main character of the images sends them by mistake to the wrong person, who sends them to other people.
- Someone steals the mobile, tablet or computer of one of those who owns the images, who publishes them on the internet.
- Someone cracks the mobile device or computer of one of those who owns the images, thus sending it to more people, publishing them on the Internet or forwarding them to their protagonist to begin a phase of blackmail or extortion.
Those images can end up in multiple places:
- On the mobile devices of the acquaintances of the protagonist, such as, for example, their own parents.
- Social networks, where you have public access to them.
- Pages of sexual content and/or pornography.
- In the hands of groomers, who see in them their perfect prey so that they can comply with their requests (see grooming).
The consequences for the victim are:
- Humiliation and social lynching for the protagonist of the images.
- The minor faces public insult, affecting first of all his self-esteem, at an age in which their personality is being formed and largely depends on the image that others perveive as the opinion of others is important..
- There are also feelings of helplessness, mainly when the case is told to parents, or educators, or guilt for being in that situation.
- These feelings can lead to deep sadness, anxiety, depression, decreased or increased appetite, or even the most extreme suicide attempts.
The discovery of the distribution of the image leads to the loss of trust in third parties. Relationship problems in the school environment, contributing to a self-imposed isolation to avoid looks, insulting comments, etc.
The prevention of sexting can be carried out by fathers, mothers or guardians, and also by minors themselves.
In the case of parents or guardians:
- They must teach minors that what they share on the internet has its consequences, even if they share it privately with a very close person, this can lead to many problems later.
- Teach them respect for their body and their intimacy. And that no one can force them to do anything that they do not want.
- Locate the computer or make the use of mobile devices as much as possible in places shared with the family.
Minors should avoid sending any kind of photos, but it is known that as they grow up, they start using this functions as well. Even in this transition to become grown-up, it is important to take some measures:
- Do not exchange intimate photographs, much less with strangers.
- Do not post compromised images on social networks or the Internet, these photos later are very difficult to delete and can reach many people.
- If you send an image, try to send it without the possibility of being identified, not showing your face, tattoos, or marks that can easily identify you.
- Do not send images with geolocation coordinates, some mobiles or devices have the option to mark the position where the photo was taken on the image. This can be an added danger in case of spreading the photo or theft of the device, since third parties can know where it was taken and locate the minor.
- If you take a photo and you don’t want it to see the light, the best option is to delete it from the device.