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Apps That May Encourage Teens to Sext Gaining Attention

Experts fear three specific apps could make it easier for teens to get involved with sexting – and getting involved with sexting can put teens at a higher risk for cyberbullying, sexual relationships with strangers and even chronic depression.Apple has given approval for a new app called iBone, which sells for less than $2 and can be used from one iPhone user to another. The app allows the purchaser to use a camera feature, their voice and SMS tools for the specific reason of sexting. Although iBone indicates that teens aren’t a target audience for the app, and that users must be at least 18 to use it, recent articles have echoed expert fears that teens will access the app anyway and sext more frequently.

Other technology providers, such as Android, have offered sexting-related options to users, including Sexy Text. This app shows the viewer long lists of sexted messages that they can send out themselves in their own sexted messages, as well as features like areas to save favorite sex-related messages.

Snapchat is already being utilized heavily by teens, and allows a subscriber to send a picture, text message or video to another person who is also a Snapchat user. The message content is set up to “disappear” after a time span of a few seconds, leading some teen users to falsely believe that sending sexted messages across Snapchat may be more secure than posting pictures on social media sites. Concerns have circulated around the nature of the app itself, as the ability to send an image that disappears may lead teens or pre-teens into experimenting with sexting.

Experts estimate that at least 20 percent of teens may be involved with sexting. Because images can be shared online for years to come, teens can experience tremendous emotional stress or chronic depression from sexting. Others report feeling forced or bullied into sexting, and being victimized through cyberbullying once an image of themselves begins to circulate. Studies indicate that teens who sext may be significantly more likely to experiment with real-world sexual activities.

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