By now, we all know what a terrible idea it is to text (or sext) sexy pictures of ourselves to other people. A hacker could break into you or your spouse's phone. Or, a spurned lover could one day turn your bedroom photos into publicly posted revenge porn. Here’s the thing, though: Even though we know the risks, an awful lot of us still do it anyway.
A new McAfee survey, released this week, shows that 54% of U.S. adults – almost half of us – have used our mobile phone to share or receive intimate or sexual text messages, emails, videos or photos. Amongst those aged 18 to 24, the figure rises to 70%.
This represents a sharp increase in the phenomenon in recent years. A 2011 Pew Internet survey showed that only 6% of adults at the time were sexting.
There's more troubling news in the survey. While 50% of those surveyed save these racy photos rather than delete them, only 69% password protect their phone. Even when phones are protected, the survey shows that 46% of U.S. adults are sharing their password with other people, limiting its effectiveness.
“With all the stories we’ve heard about intimate photos being leaked, it’s hard to believe people are still sharing their passwords,” said McAfee VP Gary Davis. “Ultimately, they’re increasing the risks of these photos becoming public and possibly jeopardizing their identity and reputation. Consumers must take precautions and use mobile security to ensure that what should be private stays private.”
For more on the McAfee survey, click to enlarge the infographic at the right.
[Woman takes self portrait via Shutterstock]