Sexting: Think Before You Send

Sexting, the practice of sending erotic images through the use of instant messaging devices, has caught the attention of a lot of people recently. In some cases, the practice has been the subject of discussion among lawmakers. Parents have also become aware that teens and even pre-teens have been known to snap intimate photos to send to someone they are romantically interested in. Adults have found it to be a fun way to keep romantic fires burning when work or other circumstances make it necessary for the two people involved to be physically separated for a period of time.

While sexting is seen by many as a perfectly harmless pastime, it is important to realize there may be some ramifications from this type of electronic sharing. Before you pose, snap, and send an intimate image of yourself, stop and consider each of these realities.

You Lose Control of Your Images

Electronic images have a way of taking on a life of their own. As soon as you send a sexy image of yourself in some state of undress, you no longer have any control over where that image could turn up. While many sexting messages are never seen by anyone but the recipient, far too many find their way onto web sites or at least forwarded to people you may not even know.

Intimate images sent in private become public for one simple reason: the recipient becomes angry or disillusioned and decides to use the erotic images to embarrass his or her former partner. There are also situations in which the recipient was never as interested in the sender as he or she pretended to be; once the intimate photos are in hand, they are shared with friends and others without any thought to the feelings of sender. In either case, the person in the image is often powerless to do anything, since the image was sent willingly in the first place.

Sexting and Murphy’s Law

When images are floating around thanks to sexting, they can show up at the worst possible time. For example, an erotic image may show up when the sender is trying to build a new relationship or when the individual is attempting to build a career in the public eye. If you are thinking about going into politics, becoming a performer, or even becoming president of a local community organization, it would be wise to think twice before sending anyone an erotic image of yourself.

Setting Unrealistic Expectations

Sexting can also have a negative impact on others who view the image, especially among young people. Since adolescents develop adult characteristics at different paces, the images can add to the self-doubts and feelings of inadequacy that are often part of growing up.

Given the controversy associated with sexting, it should not be surprising that some lawmakers want to create laws to control the practice. Instead of legislating the sending of erotic images between consenting adults, it would be much better in the long run if individuals would simply think before they snap an image and unleash it on the world.

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