Info For Teens

Sexting, the Internet, and Your Privacy ó What You Need to Know

The online world gives you limitless information, endless opportunities to connect with others, and all sorts of entertainment options. And when it comes to your sex life, it can also get you into trouble.

Here are some things to think about before you upload that photo or press the send button.

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    What's sexting?

    Sexting is using cell phones to send sexy text messages or images ó often of oneself. Sexting, uploading sexy pictures, and writing sexy posts online or in an e-mail have serious risks.

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    How can I keep my messages private?

    You can't. There’s no such thing as sharing information only with a select group of friends. Anyone can forward the information to others outside the group. It’s also easy to track down people through screen names, e-mail addresses, and other online profile information. And because it’s so easy for people to disguise who they are on social networking sites and on e-mail, you don’t always know who you’re dealing with. So never post or send anything you wouldn’t want the whole world to see.

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    What else do I need to know about technology and my privacy?

    • Be careful with humor. Even if you think itís obvious that youíre just kidding, not everyone will get the joke. If you want to post or send something thatís meant to be funny ó especially something sexy ó make that clear in your message. 
    • Be yourself. Your best friend thinks it would be fun to post naked pictures of yourselves? Your boyfriend wants you to sext him? If you donít feel comfortable with it, donít do it. Also be aware that, in many places, itís illegal to send nude or semi-nude pictures of minors ó even if youíre a minor. Teens have been convicted and jailed for sexting.  
    • Itís permanent and easily shared. You had second thoughts about that sexy photo you posted, so you deleted it. But someone else already copied it and posted it to another site. And someone else downloaded it and texted it to a friend. And somehow, it landed in your teacherís ó or your momís ó inbox. Once something is out in the online world, itís never just a question of hitting ďdeleteĒ to get rid of it.
    • Your life online is a digital extension of who you are. When someone pressures you or disrespects you in those places, that's not cool.

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