Sexting is an English word that is a contraction of ‘sex’ and ‘texting’. But the term is no longer reserved for texting (who does that anyhow nowadays?). Direct Messaging in Twitter, WhatsApp messages, Kik-messages and other forms of social media usage where we send each other erotic messages or pictures are called ‘sexting’.
Now the majority of phones are smartphones, sending erotic messages or ‘selfies’ have become very popular. And although you cannot get pregnant or get an STD, there are some other dangers. We’ve all heard the stories of revenge messages from exes that made nude selfies public, or from jealous ‘other women’ who suddenly show up at the door step.
It’s OK to like sex. And so it is also OK to enjoy sexting. It is never OK to abuse and if someone is abusive it is NEVER the victim’s fault.
Just as you cannot say to a victim of sexual abuse that he or she provoked it by certain behavior or clothing, you cannot say that victims of online sexual assault have asked for it. For example because they were careless or because they were recognizable on the screen. This kind of ‘victim blaming’ or ‘slut shaming’ is never OK. It is the culprit who is to blame.
But … just compare it with your house. It’s never OK to break in and take other people’s things with you. People who leave the door open have not asked for it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to lock the door while you’re away.
That’s why we give you 10 tips to increase your online safety when you plan to be naughty online.
10. Be sober
Of course you loosen up after a few shots of alcohol and you might even get a little aroused. But have you aver considered that the person on the other side is less intoxicated? Everyone who ever tweeted drunk, recognizes the feeling of a double hangover: not only do you have a headache from the booze, but you are also embarrassed when you read back your messages. You can delete those messages, but they are already read and (worst case) shared.
9. Censor your selfies
Even though the person on the other end says he is to be trusted, you just never know what he or she will ultimately do with your pictures. Even Snapchats can be saves with a screenshot. Now, we are not saying you should never share your photos, but you might want to pay attention to a couple of things:
- Make sure the background is not recognizable or identifiable
- Cover up or hide recognizable tattoos, piercings or scars.
- Use photo’s that do not show your face
- Use apps to edit your pictures, like StickerMe, Pixlr online editor or the edit mode in the gallery on your phone, to censor your pics and stay anonymous.
Be aware that every app has its own privacy rules. In Twitter for example, you can set if others can view your email address. In WhatsApp, your telephone number will be visible. No wonder KIK-messenger is so popular, because it guarantees anonymity for the party on the other end.
I’m always surprised when someone uses one Twitter-account for both business as naughty tweets (unless that person is working in the adult industry). Be wise and use separate accounts. Make a second Twitter-account for your ‘naughty’ self. Use a ‘lock’ to make you totally in control over who can and cannot follow you. And make sure you do not share ‘geo’ or location data.
7. Use an access code
Keepsafe, Locksafe and other free apps can be downloaded from the AppStore and PlayStore. Withe these apps, you can block your pictures with a pincode, so others (like your children or nosy friends) that use your phone don’t see them accidentally. However, using such apps might in itself raise questions: “what have you got to hide?”
It is always wise to set an access code on your phone, just in case it might get lost or stolen. But it will also help against nosy people who will browse through your pictures when you’ve gone to the toilet or take a shower.
6. Who is this?
Because you only communicate with texts, it is wise to be alert that the other person is just not who you think he or she is. Does the tone of voice suddenly change? It might be that the other one is no longer alone, or even that someone else is on the line. I have often experienced that someone had me reading along in a hot conversation and I was even asked to take over the conversation or to brush someone off (which I kindly declined). When in doubt, ask something specific that only the other person knows, to verify it is still the same person you are talking to.
Be alert to the fact that the person on the pictures might not be the same as the person you are talking to. Ask for a specific picture (with today’s newspaper). Or run the pictures through Google Image Search to see if the photo is genuine. And be aware that the person on the other side can do the same. So never use the same photo on your naughty Twitter account as on your LinkedIn business account, if you don’t want those two accounts to be connected.
Google, Google and Google some more. When the person on the other side uses terminology you don’t understand, look it up. You are never too old to learn, so make sure your sex education is up-to-date. That way you know if your dealing with a tasty bite, or someone who is not exactly your cup of tea.
4. Switch off autocorrect
It may be clear that autocorrect is meant to be useful, but can put you in some really embarrassing situations. It should make communication faster (and it is when you are really handy with it), but when you do not pay attention, you could send the most awful messages. Believe me when I say the person on the receiving end prefers a slow typed text over a nasty message. That is unless you really do like anal.
3. Behave like you would in a public bar
First introduce yourself, before you decide to send a dicpic. One of the most heard complains on Twitter is, that men send a picture of their penis in DM without any introduction. Trust me, that is about the same as a flasher in the park that jumps out of t he bushes and shows his weenie.
It is not impolite to block someone who is harasses you. Sometimes, removing someone as a contact person is not enough. Check if the app you are using is capable of blocking someone (Twitter and Kik can). It is also possible to block phone numbers through your telco provider.
1. Be a mystery
It is easy to share a lot about yourself. But be very sparse when it comes to revealing your hometown, last name, employer, or favorite bars and clubs you frequently visit. And your financial situation is above all off limits. Be mysterious. It is not only very sexy, but also much safer.
Empowering Internet Safety Guide
Just recently, an online safety guide for women was published. This guide contains a lot of practical tips and good to know facts, by which women (and men too) are offered to be online without fear of danger. You can find The Empowering Internet Safety Guide for Women here.