Sexting is a relatively new way of experiencing sex, which means two things: it is practiced mainly by young people, and at the same time there is significant misinformation about everything around it, which can lead to risks. and problems.
In this article we will see what are the risks of sexting and how they can affect us.
What is sexting?
As this word suggests for its English etymology, sexting (sometimes called “sexteo” in Spanish) is the practice of send and / or receive sexual content from yourself or your interlocutor via messaging platforms, such as those currently used in smartphones, where the purpose of producing sexual arousal.
This content can range from text to photos and videos, keeping in mind that the benefits of commercial mobile phones make it very easy to create and share high quality audiovisual material instantly. However, sexting originally consisted only of messages due to technical limitations that existed until not so long ago, and the concept was first formulated at the turn of the 21st century.
In itself, sexting is nothing wrong in itself and it would be absurd to value it morally from a psychological point of view for the simple fact that there is no physical contact between the people involved: it is is just another way to enjoy sex. However, it has a number of associated risks that should be known, especially since it is a particularly common practice among adolescents.
What are the risks of sexting?
First of all, it is important to note that sexting by itself is not psychologically harmful and should not have a negative impact on the development of young people.
While currently there is a certain tendency to be afraid of the use of new technologies (For example, it is repeatedly emphasized that video games lead children to be violent, even though scientific evidence does not support this belief), in the case of the sixth the possible negative effects of this way of living the sexuality is limited to the possibilities and something bad happens; in particular the distribution of these images, videos or texts.
Thus, the danger of sexting is an “all or nothing” question: either nothing serious is happening or it can have psychologically devastating consequences.
Let’s look at a summary.
1. The other person can use the content to blackmail
It is very important to have a close relationship with the person you are sexting with, because otherwise we are exposed to all kinds of blackmail: the other party is able to threaten to spread what has been ordered. In fact, there are mafias that operate on the Internet to obtain sexual content from the victims.
2. Other people can access this content
No chat or photo or video sharing platform currently offers a 100% guarantee that such content will not be viewed by third parties.
Also, most people don’t know Relatively short passwords can be easily “bypassed”: There are programs that try all possible combinations until they are successful, so that they can resolve 7 character passwords in minutes.
In this way, once the victim has been selected, the possibility of accessing their chat and social media profiles generally depends on the time and money they wish to invest to “force” this entry barrier, unless that the password is relatively secure (more than 12 characters and by exchanging upper and lower case letters and numbers).
3. Material obtained may lead to harassment and cyberstalking
Unfortunately, this kind of content is too often used as material to ignite the flame of teen bullying. For example, you can share a sex video in student group chats, upload photos or screenshots for high school or social media, etc. Obviously, in such cases the chances of reporting and winning the case are very high, but the damage will already be done.
What to do?
When it comes to texting, we have two key tools: psychoeducation to prevent incidents and help people protect themselves from abusers, and psychotherapy deal with the victims of the dissemination of the content of the sixth.
First, young people are told to understand how sensitive and intimate this content is, that the simple act of sharing such content without permission is only illegal but can seriously harm the mental health of the victim, and that it It is very important to follow a series of protocols to stay safe from cyber attacks and malicious people who seek to manipulate and deceive to engage in blackmail.
In the case of professional psychological support, people who have suffered sexting equipment attacks are helped to overcome any trauma or mood or anxiety disorders. This process is more complex and takes several months, but in most cases it is essential for the person to be able to overcome such experiences.
Are you looking for professional psychological support?
If you are interested in psychological support services for adults and adolescents, please contact me.
My name is Tomás Santa Cecilia and I work from the cognitive-behavioral model applied to individuals, groups and companies. I offer face-to-face sessions in Madrid, and also online by video call
- Hamilton, P. (2008). Teen sexting alerts cybersecurity experts. The press.
- Temple, JR; Le, VD; van den Berg, P .; Ling, Y .; Paul, examining magistrate; Temple, BW (2014). “Brief report: adolescent sexting and psychosocial health. »Review of adolescents. 37 (1): 33-36.
- Trim, A. (2012). “Parasitic” pornographic sites that steal pictures and videos posted by young people. The Guardian.