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Friday, October 28, 2011

The dangers of sexting

Sexting - or the sending of sexually explicit messages and photos of oneself to another party via mobile devices - appears to have caught on among the young in Singapore. In an informal online poll which The Sunday Times conducted among about 700 people aged between 16 and 25, about half said they had sexted before, sending images of their breasts, legs, bums and even genitalia. We are surprised by the result, even if the survey sampling was random. We must admit we are perplexed why young people should want to do that in the first place. Although the poll results showed that those who sexted were likely to send the pictures to their partners, we are astounded that a 25-year-old civil servant actually sent a photo of her breasts to someone she had chatted with on a dating forum and had never met. She said she felt pressured to do so after he sent her an explicit picture of himself and asked her for a picture of her 'boobs'. Talk about the follies of youth.

Most of those who sexted said they did it for fun and excitement. But do they know the dangers of sexting? Young men will find it hard to resist showing off the explicit pictures of their girlfriends to others, given how much they need the validation of their peers. The girls are degraded, especially if they belong in the same circles as those who have been shown the pictures.

There is also no telling that when a relationship sours, the aggrieved party will not post the photos on the Net, for all to see. The photos may not show the face, but the spurned party can always put a name to them.

The other danger is that the photos can be hacked. Just last month, hacked photos of a nude Scarlett Johansson were leaked on the Net. The 26-year-old Hollywood actress had apparently taken the pictures herself using her mobile phone.

So our advice to the careless young is: Don't do it.

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