Sexting and Online Reputation: Youth Gone Wild

For years, institutions and individuals have definitely striven to prevent kids from sending nude photos of themselves to other kids. Parents and educators have tried to spare no efforts in educating younger generations in order for these youngsters to acknowledge the dangers in such practice. As the importance of taking a rather conservative approach, in regards to online usage and presence, has been highlighted, an issue that often comes to the fore is online reputation management —alongside the common definition of moral, which seems to be directly connected to the connotation of self-respect.

Sexting is something that has been under the radar for quite some time now; in fact, plenty of research has already been conducted in hopes of understanding the real motive behind such practice. The results, however, seem to depict a much worse danger than what generally meets the eye: even though sending nudes to another person already entails a scandal, the real danger, the one that seems to be going unnoticed —and even overlooked— is the fact that behind the mere action exists a coercive force: in some cases even a threat or a compelling manipulation from their conversation partners.

It is not a total nonsense to assert that sexting has become a somewhat popular practice amongst people, mostly youngsters. Nevertheless, given the fact that it embodies a much greater damage —sometimes beyond the individual’s online reputation—, institutions and people who actually care about the welfare of others are now seeking to develop apps that could ultimately serve as a tool for maintaining a healthy online reputation while avoiding falling victim of such reputation destroyer. It is not a secret that with the emergence of digital marketing, many companies and businesses highlighted the need for a tool that could consequently help them manage their online reputations. Apparently, those wishes echoed in companies who are now trying to help people avoid getting their online reputation destroyed by an indiscrete, unscrupulous revealing.

Readers might have or might have not already heard about Snapchat: an app that allegedly prevents people from getting their online reputation shattered just by adding a time period to the image’s exposure. Snapchat seemed to understand that the underlying issue in regards to sexting was related to primary human behavior, which is why their development focused on allowing people to send +18 material —under today’s considerations— for a shorter moment (a matter of seconds, in reality).

Should someone were fond of sending somewhat provocative material, it would be highly advisable to emphasize that their online reputation will always be at stake. Whether it is for a regular partner or for someone who they are flirting with, sending naked photos can be ultimately used, should they fall in the wrong hands, as a very powerful lever. We at ReputationDefender are aware of the magnificence of a healthy online reputation, especially under today’s digital juncture, since the degree to which it serves as a tool for thriving exceeds all the premises. Thusly, the idea behind this article is to stress the importance of control, rather than assess the moral background. Apps like Snapchat enables people to attain a certain degree of control over the material they send, furthermore, if the recipient were to take a screenshot, the app immediately notifies the sender about such event.

Image courtesy of MacQ at Flickr.com

Be that as it may, the controversy is served: does this app encourage people to incur in the rather dangerous practice of sexting? People seem to agree upon such assertion, especially when the app ranks third in the photo app downloads. Although apps like Snapchat strive to prevent the spreading of sexually explicit material, adults —and teens— will continue to share such images as part of their flirting practices, as it seems that engaging in sharing this type of graphic material is common —some would say intrinsic— aspect of human behavior. The issues become possibly hazardous when those images, that sexually explicit material comes back at them and haunts them until their reputation is finally shattered and scattered online. Imagine the scope of having nude images all over the internet: the damage spans all over the imaginable spectrum: businesses could even be forced to be closed due to such thing; deals could be inexorably ruined; business partners would back down on every possible business idea that people may have; startups looking for funds could never get to see the light; etc.

Online reputation will grow in importance as 2017 continues to unfold: the need to be aware of all possible threats that could result in harming both businesses and individual’s online reputation must definitely become one of the company’s (and people in general) top priorities should they were striving to succeed under today’s circumstances. In fact, whether it is people or businesses in general, striving to do something positive for their online reputation will definitely prevent them from suffering a total disaster.

* Featured Image courtesy of Peter M at Flickr.com

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