The Dangers of Sexting

Pipestone Flyer

 

We’ve all heard of “sexting” craze young people are doing, lately. This is where people send each other naughty pictures of themselves and even post them on “private” sites for a select crowd of their “BFF’s”. Many succumb to peer group pressure and join in, posting revealing or inappropriate photos, thinking they will stay private. The practice is so prevalent; some authorities estimate up to 60% of people under 25 have sent indecent photos of themselves over the Internet.

So what to do if you’re a parent concerned about this kind of potentially damaging behavior? You may want to tell them of a new UK study by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) that shows a number of porn sites are stealing images from these supposedly private chatrooms and are posting them for everyone to see. It’s not just an occasional mishap, either. In just short of two full days of monitoring, the IWF team uncovered more than 12,000 images and videos that had been lifted from 68 different private chat sites.

"Most of the images and videos (88 per cent) appeared on 'parasite websites,' meaning they were taken from the original area where they were uploaded and made public on other websites," the IWF stated in a recent CBC report.

Foundation head, Susie Hargreaves expanded on the problem.

"It…highlights the problem of control of these images. Once an image has been copied onto a parasite website, it will no longer suffice to simply remove the image from the online account."

This story gains even greater relevance for young people in light of the suicide of Amanda Todd. Her inappropriate images had been used to blackmail her and was the focal point of the bullying that drove her to tragically end her young life. Hopefully, by parents drawing attention to these issues in a mature and honest discussion, they can show their kids the dangers of what they consider to be just a little naughty fun.