If you ever want to throw a group of adults who are sensible, well-meaning, but altogether fairly disconnected from youth culture as a whole into a collective tailspin, it’s very easy. All you need to do is whisper the term “sext”–or, better yet, “I just got a sext” or “It’s about time I got started on my sexting for today.” I guarantee that they will not know what to do with themselves after this happens.
This is because sext is one of those words–along with “bae” and “turnt”–that adults don’t really know what to do with. They’re pretty sure it’s bad, based off of that thinkpiece that they read in Salon (as well as The New York Times, Slate, and Time, alongside the trend piece on why teenagers don’t date anymore), but they don’t know what the right method of attack is. Hence, the collective frenzy anytime the S-word is mentioned.
The thing is, people are definitely doing it. If you’ve ever sexted, statistically, you’re not alone–between thirty to sixty percent of young adults have sexted. Despite parental hysteria, however, there isn’t really anything wrong with sexting as a whole–you just have to know the facts in order to stay safe, and not a lot of people who are your parents’ age are going to know what to tell you. Here are the things that you should know about sexting that no one else will tell you:
Know About The ConsequencesI'll start with the really bad stuff--if you're under eighteen, taking and sending nude photos of yourself is technically distributing child pornography. If you send it to someone and they save and distribute it, you could technically get a felony charge. This is really sucky, obviously--the only person who should get in trouble in a situation like that is the person who saved and distributed them--but it's an unfortunate reality nonetheless. So, you have to be really, really careful about sending out compromising pictures of yourself--in fact, if you're under eighteen, your safest bet might just be to hold off on sexting for now. Image source:iStock
Don't Sext Anyone You Don't TrustThis seems pretty straightforward, but it should still be said. If you have the slightest bit of doubts about someone's character when it comes to their handling of your nude pictures, don't send them. Do you think they would screenshot the picture even if you asked them not to? Would they show their friends? Would they put it online? If you think the answer to any of those questions is "yes," that's a bad sign. Image source:iStock
Wait Until It's More Official Than NotTo help with the trust factor, wait until you're in more of an official relationship than a low-key hanging out one. This will ensure that you really know who you're dealing with and that they actually respect your wishes in terms of keeping your pictures safe. Image source:iStock
Don't Include Your FaceWorst-case scenario? The picture leaks. To cope if that happens, don't put your face in the picture. That way, it's a lot harder to connect the dots if the picture were to ever come out. Image source:iStock
Know If Your State Will Protect You26 states currently have revenge porn laws. Find out if, in one of these worst-case scenarios, your state will protect you. furthermore, try to figure out what the protection level is, because some are pretty weak. Image source:iStock
Delete The PicturesIf you take--or receive--pictures, get them off of your phone ASAP! No one casually browsing through your phone needs to see that. Image source:iStock
Don't Send Anything You Don't Want To SendThis should go without saying, obviously, but I'm going to say it anyway--if you feel uncomfortable at all with someone who asked you to sext or send nudes, you do not have to do it. Period. Your body is yours and yours alone, and if anyone else is acting like they're entitled it, don't hesitate to send them a big, fat, no. Only do what you feel comfortable with. Image source:iStock
What do you think about sexting? Did I miss any key pieces of advice? Let us know in the comments!