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Sexting: What is it?


Sending or forwarding nude, sexually suggestive, or explicit pics on your cell or online. For some people, it's no big deal. But real problems can emerge when the parties involved are under 18, when people get pressured into sexting, and when sexts go viral.

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    1. Was this my idea? If you're not in the mood to make, take, or share a permanent record of your stuff, choose a way to express your hotness that won't put you at risk for major overexposure. If you're being pressured to pose, and feel embarrassed to say no, play along, but keep your clothes on — not showing it all is way sexier. Still on the fence? Proceed to part two of this question: is it better to feel uncool for a half an hour or be totally humiliated when the pics wind up in everybody's inbox?
    2. Where will this picture end up? Possible answers:
      1. My bf or gf's phone.
      2. His or her friends' phones.
      3. Everyone's phone and inbox.
    3. What was going on when this pic was taken? If you're forwarded a sext, the answer is... who knows. Maybe the subject was having fun, but maybe s/he was coerced, or filmed/photographed without his or her knowledge or consent. Maybe s/he was drunk at the time and has no idea that the sext you just got is making the rounds. The point is, when you get a sext, you might not know if the person would be cool with you sending it around, so better to hit delete rather than forward.
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    • You get a reputation-because that "private" sext somehow escaped the phone it was sent to.
    • You get rejected - because the girl/guy you really want to go out with thinks you send naked pictures of yourself to everyone, since everyone's seen them, and s/he's not psyched.
    • You forward a sext and help humiliate the person in the pic - contributing to their emotional distress...
    • You get arrested. Taking, sending, and possessing naked images of a minor is a federal crime. Sex offenders' registry? Not the honor roll you were hoping for.
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    • Contain the beast. Before you record, reflect on where the picture you are about to take may surface.
    • Resist pressure. When your bff from 5th grade wanted you to do the chicken dance with her at the talent show, you said no, right? When your mom tried to dress you up as a Smurf for Halloween, you were like, Hells No. Same goes for sexting. Why sext if you don't want to?
    • Break the cycle. Forwards can live forever. If you don't want your junk mail floating around, just delete other people's sexts when you get ‘em, and don't respond to obnoxious or inappropriate messages.
    • Maintain possession. They start off on your camera, and then... wham! They're everywhere. And once they escape, it's almost impossible to get them back. If you must take them, save—don't send—and share in-person, on your device only.

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