Dangerous thrills

By admin
09 April 2014

You may get a thrill out of sexting ? but just by sending a pic you could be breaking the law

Has anyone ever asked you to send them a “sexy” pic? You know the kind that maybe reveals a little too much? If you did it and you’re under 18, here’s what you need to know – you did something illegal. Even worse than that though is the fact there’s now the possibility your intimate image could be disseminated across the world – without your knowledge or consent.

What is sexting?

Originally sexting referred to the exchange of sexually-themed messages and pictures via text message, hence the name. Today however sexting happens on a broader platform – easy, affordable access to the internet means it occurs on social media such as Facebook and Twitter and messaging services like Whatsapp, BBM and Mxit.

Today sexting refers to anything from discussing sexual acts and sending provocative images to arranging to meet people for sexual activities.

What are the dangers?

Contrary to what you may believe, sexting isn’t limited to chats with your close friends. You need to keep in mind that once something is on the Web, there’s no telling where it can go. Life coach and motivational speaker Godfrey Madanhire points out some potentially serious consequences.

  • You could damage your reputation. If a provocative message or picture you’ve sent to someone gets sent on to others or posted on a social media site, it will affect what others think of you. “School-goers in particular can suffer as news of their recklessness is likely to spread quickly among their peers, damaging their reputation and opening them up to bullying,” he warns.
  • You may compromise your beliefs and values. Sexting can develop its own kind of peer pressure so teens end up pushing the boundaries as everyone tries to outdo everyone else. This can push you well outside of your comfort zone and result in some very bad decisions, Godfrey cautions.
  • You could fall victim to sexual predators. It’s incredibly easy to lie about who you are in a chat room or on a forum, which is why social media sites are an ideal hunting ground for sexual predators. The reality is you can never truly be sure that James is the cute 16-year-old boy he says he is – he could very well be 61-year-old John who used his grandson’s photo as his profile pic!

Rather safe than sorry

It’s best to be cautious when engaging with people on the net or in chat rooms. Don’t share personal information unless you’re 110 per cent sure who you’re talking to and what their intentions are.

Always trust your instincts – if something doesn’t feel right, there’s probably a reason why. Take a step back and assess the situation; if you still feel uneasy about your new contact there’s a very simple solution – end the chat and delete the person from your list of friends!

Top tip

If you think your social group has an unhealthy attitude to sex, say so. It might seem uncool but you’d be surprised how quickly things return to normal once the cycle of pushing boundaries is broken

What our readers say:

Itumeleng Mabane (17), Gauteng

“No, it’s never been my thing, I feel it’s too explicit and revealing and it also shows how little you respect yourself as a person.”

Miran Atson (16), Western Cape

“Sexting is very dangerous because if you do it with a stranger they could stalk you or even worse, rape you. If it’s your boyfriend it’s still inappropriate because he could mistakenly think you’re leading him on. There are limits to the things you can chat about. For me personally it’s kind of shameful. It’s wrong. You could give people the wrong impression.”

Zaakir Allie (14), Lansdowne, Cape Town

‘‘I think it’s bad because we’re teenagers and definitely too young to do this. It can affect your school work and is very dangerous because people can lie by sending pictures taken from the internet which gets passed around and shown to friends.”

Daniel Möller (17), Cape Town

“Sexting can be dangerous because it can lead to teens engaging in irresponsible and unsafe sex, as well as intimate pictures of you being distributed all over the internet – something you might regret forever.”

- Lavern de Vries

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