I’ve been carrying around a smartphone for the past two years. It’s not because I’m addicted to my phone, but rather because it lets me access the world around me in ways that are impossible on paper or even with a digital camera. But there’s something about holding onto that physical device all day long that makes me feel like a tourist.
On Saturday night, I was sitting at home with my family watching The Bachelor when my phone buzzed and showed an unknown number. I opened up the Messages app and saw a message from “David” saying, “Hey, can you send me a picture of your boobs?”
Before I could respond, he added, “I don’t care if they’re real or fake.”
My heart sank. This wasn’t the first time this had happened. A couple months ago, I got an unsolicited dick pic from another number, and last month, someone tried to call me out of nowhere (who knows why they picked up). Each time my phone vibrated without warning or permission, I felt violated. In fact, sending those text messages feels more like harassment than anything else.
Unfortunately, it gets worse. When I checked my phone after dinner Sunday night, I saw yet another unwanted message from the same number. My mother read over my shoulder as I typed, “David, don’t ever do this again.”
When we got off the phone, she asked me what was going on. She knew about the other times this has happened, but I didn’t tell her about this latest incident. I don’t know how much longer I can put up with it.
The problem is that these types of messages have become so common that they’re normal. And while it may seem creepy to some people, it’s also becoming more acceptable than ever before.
As far back as 2007, researchers found that sending sexually explicit photos and videos was a popular activity among teens who used social media sites such as Facebook. A study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2014 revealed that nearly half (49 percent) of young adults aged 18 to 29 sent sexually explicit images and video through their mobile devices (a quarter of them said they did it weekly).
And despite growing awareness of the negative effects of sexting, most people still think nothing of sending provocative texts to strangers. According to one survey, 76 percent of respondents said they would be comfortable sharing nude photos of themselves with somebody online, a number that jumps to 95 percent when they’re using a smartphone.
This trend is especially troubling because it indicates that many people don’t understand the potential consequences of sending sexualized content to others. For example, it’s unlikely that David will stop harassing me. At least not until he hears back from me. He’ll probably continue to send me unwanted messages and photos for weeks, if not months, to come.
That’s because a recent analysis by the National Institute of Justice found that just under half of the 1,000 people surveyed admitted that they would take the offensive action of sending sexually explicit content in response to receiving a similar image. The rest were reluctant to act because they worried about getting caught, or they simply lacked the confidence to go through with it.
It’s also likely that David won’t send any additional unsolicited messages. After all, he already knows that I’m not interested in him. That’s why he’s trying to get me to send him pictures of my breasts. By doing so, he can use this information to his advantage in future conversations with women. If he sends me a naked photo, I’d be more likely to say yes to a date with him.
In short, sexting isn’t just a bad idea; it’s downright dangerous.
Even though I’m tired of getting harassed, I haven’t decided whether I should report David to law enforcement. After all, he hasn’t threatened me physically or harmed anyone in any way. He’s just trying to have sex with me, which is completely legal in most states. So I guess the best thing I can do is take matters into my own hands.
If I don’t want to deal with it anymore, I’ll start blocking him. I’ll make sure that my phone doesn’t buzz when he calls or tries to send me a new message. I’ll block him on Twitter and Instagram. And I’ll delete his phone number.
But then what? Will he find a new way to harass me? Or will he try to escalate things further by asking me to meet up somewhere? In the end, I’ll probably just have to learn to live with the possibility that I might receive a dick pic every now and then.
But the good news is that there’s a solution.
While not everyone is ready to ditch their smartphones altogether, there are plenty of ways to avoid sexting problems. Here are three tips to consider:
- Turn off alerts
We all know that the risk of getting hacked is very high when using public Wi-Fi networks. It’s easy to assume that the same applies to cellular data plans. But this isn’t necessarily true. There have been cases where people have received malicious emails from people they don’t even know, and they never connected to a network.
To prevent yourself from being hit from behind, turn off your screen notifications whenever you’re near a public place. It’s important to note that this strategy works better when you’re traveling than when you’re staying at home.
- Use a secure messaging app
There are several apps available today that offer both encryptions and self-destruct features. These tools essentially work as a shield between you and other people that are trying to hack into your account. They’re designed to protect your privacy and security, and they can help you reduce the chances of having your private information shared online.
One example of a service that offers this level of protection is Signal. You can download the free Signal app on Android and iOS, and you can choose to use it as an alternative to SMS texting. You can send encrypted messages over Signal, which means that no third parties can intercept them.
- Don’t give out your personal info
You can’t control what people do with your information once you post it online. But you can limit the damage by making sure that you never provide your full name, address, email, credit card information, or any other sensitive details.
The best advice is to keep your name and contact information to yourself. Your friends and family members shouldn’t need to know your exact location or phone number. Instead, they should rely on you to decide who they can share that information with. Even if you think you trust somebody, it’s always wise to verify that information before you give it out.
I’m aware of the risks involved with posting photos and videos of yourself online. Yet I continue to do it anyway. Part of me hopes that I never have to see that unsolicited dick pic again. But part of me understands that I’m just one person with one set of standards.
These are some common mistakes that a person common then he plan to create the Privnote. The try of the person should be in creating eth high quality of the message that does not contain any error. If the person will be alert then it will help the person in making good sum of money.
So when people ask me what I’m willing to sacrifice for my right to privacy, I tell them this: Nothing. Because the only people who deserve privacy are people who deserve to have it.
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