App encourages 'sexting' among UK teens
MANILA, Philippines – A mobile phone application called Snapchat could further drive the popularity of "sexting" among teenagers in the United Kingdom.
In a story published on the UK's The Telegraph, research done by Plymouth University and the UK Safer Internet Centre found that sexting, a messaging phenomenon of sending nude photographs to mobile users, is now popular among teens.
Experts found that around 50 million photographs are taken each day with Snapchat. The app was launched by Stanford students Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy in 2011.
Snapchat can encourage sexting because it has a "self-destruct" feature that makes photos and videos disappear after being viewed. But, The Telegraph said, app users can set a timer on a picture or video message before it disappears.
The mobile app can work with both high- and low-end mobile phone devices. This presents a problem since the research of Plymouth University believed sexting is prevalent in both expensive private schools and affordable state schools in the UK.
Experts warned that Sexting, apart from having "disturbing aspects" that could impact a child's life early on, can also be a tool for bullying.
Professor Andy Phippen, who conducted the research across 9 different schools in the South West, said some of the girls are bullied after sending pictures to boys they barely knew.
Sexting, experts said, also leaves a "digital footprint," making them easier for the photographs to end up on public websites. The Internet Watch Foundation found that 88% of sexting images end up on public websites. – Rappler.com