While many people invest in identity theft protection to keep their valuable credit card data or personal information safe, they may overlook the reality that sexually-themed photos of themselves and their conversations in Internet sex chat rooms can remain in public view forever.
Experts in a recent Psych Central article warn users of sexted images and sexually-themed sites that no information exchanged over the Internet is fully private, and that these photos or conversations can be identified online even years down the road. Teens and young adult users of sexted messaging and sex-themed exchange sites online may increase their chances of becoming victims of bullying or blackmail when the photos fall into the wrong hands. Adults may risk career damage and destruction to their personal lives even years after their participation in online sex sites.
Advances in smartphone technology are making it easier for hackers to access sexted photos and share them online, as well as to identify the sender or recipient of these messages. Despite claims that the information shared on sexual sites is secure, all the information is stored in a server, where it can reside for decades. Increasing media reports are telling how phone apps like Grindr are becoming targets for hackers; other sites used by people seeking pornography online have been cited as targets for organized hacking efforts to expose users’ personal information.
Many users of online pornography or sexting apps may believe that they can keep the activity in secret, if they take precautions. This false belief not only sets up users for their personal photos and information to be revealed online, but it allows destructive conditions like sexual addiction or pornography addiction to progress for years without treatment.
The belief that information exchanged in sex sites online is secret leads to serious security risks, and it prevents thousands of people from seeking the professional treatment and recovery they need for return to an addiction-free life.