And now you still see it.
If only there was a way to be able to send pictures or messages without having to worry about it coming back to haunt you later.
Say hello to Snapchat and Poke.
Most of you are probably already using one or both, as a way to send messages and photos only to have them disappear seconds later. It’s the answer to those embarrassing status updates or pictures we couldn't wait to share with the world and now regret.
There’s one catch.
Nothing ever fully disappears from the Internet. As quickly as someone can come up with a new way to keep things private, someone else can figure out how to share it.
Snapchat and Poke are no exceptions.
Check out some scary realities of how much "private" messages are spread around:
Buzzfeed found a security flaw that allows someone to secretly share your Snapchat videos without you knowing. To get around using a screenshot in the app—which notifies the sender that it’s happened—they’ve found you can take a picture of the picture or video of the video with your own phone without the sender knowing. Poke falls victim to the same flaws.
An important question to ask yourself then, is would it matter if anyone else sees what I’m sending anyway?
Sexting can be tempting, especially if you think the threat of messages or photos getting in front of the wrong person is gone.
The consequences though for both the sender and receiver that come with sexting can be huge. For one, there are legal consequences to having suggestive photos of anyone under 18. Students have lost scholarships, friendships have been broken and reputations ruined.
There can also be expectations you may or may not be ready for:
So why do it?
As we've discussed, nothing is really private once it's shared, so if you're doing it as a gift for your boyfriend or girlfriend, you might want to think of other ways to show you care.
Know that if someone sends you a message, you're not obligated to return the favor.
If you feel you are being pressured to send sexual pictures or messages that make you uncomfortable, or someone continues to send them to you even after you ask them to stop are forms of digital dating abuse.
As with any form of abuse, it is important to know the warning signs as well as steps to take to stop if from happening.
Know that you don’t ever have to send anything you don’t feel comfortable sending. In a healthy relationship, there are boundaries that should be respected. If something makes you uncomfortable your partner should be okay with you communicating that to them.
If someone is sending messages you don’t want, here are some steps to take to stop it:
- Don’t respond to inappropriate texts or messages. Responding might encourage the behavior.
- If it becomes a problem, save the messages. This will serve as evidence should the situation escalate enough to need a restraining order.
- Many phone companies can block up to ten numbers from texting or calling you. Contact your phone company to see if that is available on your phone.
- In extreme cases, if the abuse doesn’t stop changing your phone number is always an option.
Don’t assume anything you put on the Internet will only last a few seconds. Only send messages you are comfortable with other people seeing and hanging around awhile.
If you are receiving unwanted messages or feel like you’re being pressured to send them, call, text or chat us 24/7!