People once took photographs so they could capture a moment for themselves and keep it forever. Then digital cameras and cellphones turned photos into something more ephemeral and more easily shared. But as the case of Anthony Weiner demonstrated, photos that are shared but are not meant to last, sometimes stick around.
Mr. Weiner’s downfall does not seem to have discouraged people from sharing risqué photos. According to a study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project that is due out later this year, 6 percent of adult Americans admit to having sent a “sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photo or video” using a cellphone. Another 15 percent have received such material. Three percent of teenagers admit to sending sexually explicit content.
All of this sexting, as the practice is known, creates an opening for technology that might make the photos less likely to end up in wide circulation.
When asked about sexting among teenagers, Amanda Lenhart, senior research specialist with the Pew Research Center, said: “What motivates teens is what motivates anyone who does this: You want to be in a relationship, you want to be desired, you want to be cool, or wild.” She added: “Solving the problem is always a bit of an arms race; we have technology that allows us to do something, then we have to create the technology to help protect us.”Read More