Sexting nude photos: It's something that over half of 18-24-year-olds engage in. Those that engage in it describe it as fun, sexually liberating, or a good way to connect with their partners. Many parents and parenting groups condemn it as an epidemic due to the ease of which such images can be leaked without consent. No matter which camp you're in, two things are for sure: sexting isn't going away anytime soon, and the risk of leaked nudes is indeed serious and real. So, if you're going to be sending nudes, here are nine ways to protect yourself while doing so.
1. Ensure that all sexting is consensual.
It may seem obvious, but the importance of consent cannot be overstated. It is very important that you have given consent for your photos or videos to be taken or sent. If they are taken sent without consent, then this is grounds to contact law enforcement. But, what often gets swept under the rug is the recipient's consent. Nudes can be very upsetting when unsolicited, so the recipient needs to be willing and enthusiastic about receiving them. Moreover, you may run an added risk of the recipient sharing your photo if it is unsolicited, so obtaining consent could add an extra layer of protection for you, too.
2. Only send nudes to people you trust.
Again, though may seem obvious, sending nudes to strangers, especially those that are met through dating apps, is not a rare occurrence. The best way to protect yourself from your nudes being leaked is simply to use good judgement in who you send them to. Just like you wouldn't lend money to someone who you don't know or can't trust to pay you back, don't send nudes to people you don't trust, or don't know.
3. Talk through your conditions.
Nudes can, and should, have conditions. Can the receipt show certain people? Can she/he save them to his phone or computer? How long can she/he keep them? These are all things you need to discuss beforehand.
4. Use Snapchat or Instagram.
Apps like Snapchat and Instagram's private messaging are great for sending nudes while also maintaining privacy and control. With both apps, you can set an expiration time for the photo. Once it's gone, it's gone, and if the recipient takes a screenshot (and you've agreed that no screenshots will be taken) you are alerted and can take action. It's not foolproof since screenshots or pictures of the screen using another device can still be taken, but it adds a bit more of a safety net.
5. Take the photos yourself.
Whenever nudes are taken, make sure that you are the one who takes the photo, and on your own personal device. This ensures that, if needed, you can file a copyright for the photo in the unfortunate event that it is leaked. Pornography sites, especially revenge pornography sites, are far more likely to take down your photo on the basis of copyright violation than lack of consent. It's a sad reality, but one to prepare for nonetheless.
6. Look into "revenge porn" laws where you live.
US states have varying laws regarding the leaking of nudes, and some don't have any explicit laws regarding the non-consensual distribution of these images. Just like you can protect yourself by taking your own photos due to copyright laws, certain states have additional laws that can offer extra protection, or they may have other stipulations that leave you unprotected in certain scenarios. Familiarize yourself with the laws in your area so that you can best prepare for the unfortunate event that your nudes are leaked. You can find a full list of US states' revenge porn laws here.
7. Look into child pornography laws where you live.
In many US states, consensual distribution or possession of nude photos in which both the sender and recipient are seventeen years of age can be grounds for child pornography charges and force those involved to register as sex offenders. This can be the case even if both are above the age of consent and are legally having sex with one another. Usually, these charges are only pressed when the parent of one teen does not like his/her child's partner and wishes to remove them from the equation. Whether this describes your situation or not, if you are not yet eighteen, you need to make sure that your sending of nudes is legal. Even in states where sixteen or seventeen-year-olds sexting is not classified as child pornography, there still may be legal ramifications. You can find the child pornography laws by state in regard to teen sexting here.
8. Keep your face out of the photo.
By keeping your face out of the picture and the background generic, it will be difficult to identify you if your nudes are leaked. This can protect you from unnecessary bullying and missed opportunities in your career.
9. Store nudes in a password protected album.
If you and your partner have agreed that your nudes can be kept on his/her phone, make sure that she/he keeps them in a password protected album, and take the same precautions on your own device if you keep your nude pictures. Many smartphones have privacy modes built in. But, if your phone does not have this feature standard or you wish to use another method of protecting your photos, you can download privacy apps like Hide it Pro on Android and iOS .