Safe Sexting Apps: Not as Safe as You Think

"Sexting," or sending sexually explicit text messages and MMS messages, is considered to be a disturbing trend among teens, who often fail to realize the short-term and long-term consequences of sending a nude photo of themselves.

Obviously, however, it's not just a problem for teens, as plenty of adults have found themselves in hot water for sexting with a minor or an adult (Andrew Weiner, we're looking in your direction). Because sexting can lead to bullying, political destruction, criminal charges, and a lifetime of regret, most social media networks and social apps specifically state that sending explicit material is against the terms of use.

There have even been public service announcements, including a series of "safe sexting" videos by James Lipton of "Inside the Actor's Studio," designed to discourage sexting.

Yet despite these warnings, developers continue to make apps that are designed to make sexting "safer" by deleting evidence. Among these apps, which specifically state they are not to be used for sending graphic, obscene, or pornographic material, are the following apps which Mashable calls the "7 Apps for Steamy Text Sessions."

  1. SnapChat
  2. Facebook Poke
  3. Gif Chat
  4. Avocado
  5. Between
  6. iDelete
  7. Kik
Note to parents: If you see these apps on your child's phone, it might be time for a serious discussion about sexting. The reason these apps have become synonymous with sexting is that they contain self-destruct features that allow the images to disappear after a short time--with SnapChat, that time frame is 1 to 10 seconds.

Unfortunately, these apps are subject to screen shots, which make the images permanent, and hacking. SnapChat has been hacked at least three times, which allows users to permanently capture the supposedly temporary images.

These images may be distributed among peers or published on the internet on sites like Tumblr's "Snapchat Sluts" or Reddit. Additionally, forensic experts can easily uncover these "deleted" files from a user's phone, which could lead to criminal charges for possession or distribution of child pornography (if the subject is under the age of 18), soliciting a minor by use of technology, or lewd or indecent proposals or acts to a child under 16.

All of these crimes are felony sex offenses, associated not only with significant prison terms, but also mandatory sex offender registration. The best way to avoid shame, regret, and criminal charges for sexting is to follow James Lipton's advice and "Give it a ponder." Do not send any messages or images that you wouldn't want to be made public.

Getting Legal Defense

If, however, you are charged with a sex crime after sending, receiving, or distributing a sexually explicit message, call a defense attorney immediately to get skilled legal counsel about your case.  Click here to learn more.

You can find more information about Oklahoma's laws regarding sexting here.

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