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Sexting 101 Part 3: Ways to Reduce the Risk
In our last post, we reviewed the legal issues around sexting and how to get help or recourse if someone is sharing your photos without consent. In this post, we are looking at the different ways of reducing risk to yourself and others
As mentioned above there is no such thing risk free sexting, there are many ways your messages, pictures or videos might get shared. Here are some ways to minimize potential harm:
- Sobriety is Best
Drunk texting is bad, drunk sexting is even worse (this includes being high)
- Don’t include your name
- Don’t include your face or other identifying features
For examples any birthmarks, piercings, tatoos, etc. Even blurring out/covering these features is not enough as there is software to undo this
- Don’t be in a surrounding with distinctive features
Be somewhere plain, make sure there is nothing distinctive so people can’t identify where you are. Ie- photos on your wall, comforter you have, anything with your name or school on it etc.
- Consider a watermark
A watermark is a slightly visible design on top of your photo. Consider watermarking the photo with the name of the person you are sending it to, preferably right in the middle of the photo so they can’t crop it. This might deter them from sharing and if they do share you will have evidence they shared. This will make it easier to charge them if you decide to take legal action.
- Don’t sext or take your clothes off for someone you’ve never met in person before
They may not be who they say they are, they could be a much older person who might not have good intentions for you.
- Have a Passcode on Your Phone
Make sure your partner has a passcode on their phone as well
- Be aware of your settings
Your phone or computer is likely set to automatically backup your photos in the cloud.
To turn this feature off:
iPhone, go to Settings > Photos > iCloud Photo Library and then toggle the feature to "off."
Google photos, you can turn off automatic syncing by going to Settings > Accounts > Accounts & Sync and toggling off the account you don't want to be synced anymore.
- EXIF data
EXIF data is collected for each photo taken; it shows the location, date and time the picture was taken. Here is how to remove this data:
Mac computers don't show all of the metadata. If you want to view and delete the EXIF data on a Mac you will need to download an app such as File Viewer.
If you're on a Windows computer, you can delete the metadata by simply clicking "Remove Properties and Personal Information."
- Choose a designated sexting app
Choose one app to send and receive photos from. Use this app for sexting only. Only add your partner and no one else. This will make it less likely that you will send your sext to the wrong person.
- How Are You Storing the Pictures?
If you decide to keep the photos the best way to store them is on an encrypted hard drive in a password-protected folder
- Log Out
Make it a habit to log out of each device after you use it. If you don’t, other people might come across your message without you even knowing it.
- Make an agreement with your partner
Agree on where, how and for how long the photos will be stored, who has access to the device and what will happen to the remaining photos if you break up.
Although you might feel like it doesn’t need to be said make an agreement that the photos will be kept private between the two of you.
Check in with them every now and again to make sure they are following your agreement.
Kathryn is a recent MSW graduate currently trying to #adult. She is a former mindyourmind staff and continues to work in the youth & community development sectors. In her spare time, she is a proud plant parent, home chef and avid volunteer.
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