Ponnada: Don't go with the sext flow

BY SRI PONNADA | AUGUST 30, 2012 6:30 AM

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A man was charged last week for stealing a phone at Union Bar in January and posting several naked pictures of a woman that he found on the phone to the woman’s Facebook wall in an attempt to blackmail her, as reported by the Des Moines Register.

Though this was in no way her fault, nor could in no way be foreseen by the woman, this leads me to ask, are smart phones that smart to use for sexual behavior?

The Harris Interactive poll sponsored by Lookout Mobile Security earlier this year showed that almost 1 in 5 Americans with a smart phone claim to have used it for sexting — sharing explicit text messages or photographs with others, as reported by Digital Life.

You might think, “Well, the only person I send these kinds of messages to is my boyfriend/girlfriend.” Don’t get too comfortable with that thought. The results of a Knowledge Networks survey showed that 17 percent of teens report sharing the graphic media they receive with persons for whom the content was not intended. Chances look pretty good that “the only person” you sent those pictures to may have just forwarded them to a few friends.

And heads up: Teens aren’t the only ones who jumped on the sextwagon. Lookout Mobile Security says 1 in 5 moms and dads of kids under 18 say they use their smart phone to sext. Interestingly enough, 1 in 10 people age 55 and older said they sexted as well.

However, does the fact that virtually everyone is sending sexts make it something safe to do? It has only been a little over a year since ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal was widely publicized on every major newspaper and news network.  

We all saw what happened to him. A single racy picture or text could not only cause you intolerable embarrassment and humiliation, but also cost you your job and perhaps even your family. It is imperative that we constantly remind ourselves of the numerous consequences that our actions may have.

Be smart with your smart phone. Use it to access readings for your classes on ICON or play Temple Run. You could even write a bestselling novel, as the author of Fifty Shades of Grey did. Just make sure you don’t become a character.

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