One of the most popular apps categories amongst young adults and teens are social/messaging apps. There are a plentiful supply of them too. Vine, Kik, WhatsApp, LINE, pinger, KakaoTalk, WeChat, Tango, Telegram, and of course Snapchat.
Snapchat is a particularly interesting one from a business perspective since it is a company that has no revenue to speak of, yet it recently attracted and rejected a $3 billion buy-out offer from Facebook. SnapChat’s claim to fame has been the ability to send “temporary” images between a closed group of “friends” with the confidence that the picture, after a number of seconds will disappear, never to be seen again. Well thats the theory, anyway. While this opens the floodgates for many and varied hilarious images to be sent back and forth, it also has had a massive impact on the ease and supposed confidence to engage in sexting.
Now, what is SEXTING?
Sexting is the modern conjunction given to the act of sexually explicit texting. The concept of texts is used in this term because previously, the only way to do this was to snap a photo with your 1 megapixel camera on your clamshell mobile phone, and place the lo-res grainy image in an SMS/MMS message and send it. All this with the knowledge that the image would then forever remain on the recipients phone until they chose to delete it. But it didn’t really matter because no-one could make out what the image was of anyway! 🙂
Enter Snapchat and the advent of up to 41 MegaPixel(MP) camera perched in a mini computer that is your smart-phone in your pocket. As an example, I have a stunningly detailed canvas picture on my wall which is approximate 1 meter wide. The photo on the canvas was taken with a popular smart phone at the time with a 5MP Camera. A 41MP could potentially be blown up as a picture to be displayed on the side of a skyscraper with great clarity.
What is the RISK?
So, I hear you saying, “if the photo disappears, why are we concerned?”
The reality is that it is notoriously difficult to remove data from mobile devices simply because of the way data is stored. Since mobile devices are so regularly recycled for newer versions, this means that Snapchat photos may inadvertently be passed on to unknown persons, when users are under the impression they no longer exist. If you know how, it is relatively easy to retrieve them with forensic software.
What do I need to be aware of?
There are a couple of things to be aware of, depending on your role in the use of SnapChat and other similar apps, and how they are being utilised.
A Concerned Parent
Ensure you have open communication with your child. Explain the risks, and ensure that they are aware that even when they think images are totally gone, in reality they most likely are not.
Here are some sites which may help:
And while this link will expire on the 18th of Dec – I recommend watching the ABC2 Documentary “Suicide and Me“
There is an astounding stat at the start – every 10 minutes, someone in Australia makes an attempt on their own life. This program deals with, amongst other things, how to communicate with someone who might be considering drastic actions.
What you do with your phone is absolutely your choice – unless you are under-age, or the phone is not yours. If you want to find out what the potential effects could be, or if you have been the victim of an embarrassing mis-use of a photo you intended to be private, you may want to review some of these sites:
“Teen sexting is a very rational act with very irrational consequences.” Danah Boyd
This is not a practice exclusive to “Teens” – it is practiced by many age brackets – during my somewhat disturbing research on this article, I encountered many images I could easily have done without ever seeing. There are many beautiful women exposing themselves and many not so aesthetic male and female images as well. Both are doing it either through a lack of self worth, or simply without understanding the consequences of they are doing. Either way, when their trust is broken by someone publicising the image without their authorisation, chances are the victim is going to be feeling pretty low at the time. Great care is needed in communicating with them. Not condemning, or punishing. That could be the trigger for the victim taking an even more drastic course of action.
While we are not counsellors here at Askkiz, we certainly have some knowledge and technology to help in regards to the activities discussed. Give us a call if you would like to take proactive steps to help minimise the effects, or stop it from happening in the first place.
For a little extra assistance in detecting Sexting activities, you can use the following list to help translate some of the acronyms used in communications.
Common Sexting Slang Terms
Warning: some of these terms are vulgar. This list is nowhere close to exhaustive, words can be combined, removed, and invented on the fly.
|143||I Love You|
|cu46||See You For Sex|
|DUM||Do You Masturbate?|
|GNOC||Get Naked On Cam|
|GYPO||Get Your Pants Off|
|GNRN||Get Naked right Now|
|FMH||F#&k Me Harder|
|IWS||I Want Sex|
|IIT||Is It Tight?|
|Q2C||Quick To Come|
|RUH||Are You Horny?|
|TDTM||Talk Dirty To Me|
|S2R||Send To Receive|
|NIFOC||Naked In Front Of Computer|
|SorG||Straight Or Gay?|
|PAW||Parents Are Watching|
|PIR||Parent In Room|
|POS||Parent Over Shoulder|
|YWS||You Want Sex|
|WYCM||Will You Call M?e|
|RU18||Are You 18?|
|CD9 / Code 9||Parent / Adult around|
|NALOPKT||Not A Lot Of People Know This|