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Sext much? If so, you're not alone



(Credit: McAfee)

Former US representative Anthony Weiner wasn't the only one to get hooked on sexting -- apparently, nearly half of all US adults' smartphones contain sexy photos or texts.

A new study released Tuesday by security software firm McAfee titled "Love, Relationships, and Technology" details just how many people send risque photos or intimate texts to people they know or strangers.

McAfee online security expert Robert Siciliano wrote in a blog post that a number of adults share "private details about their lives, including those of an intimate nature such as nude photos and sexts -- all of this on unsecured digital devices -- now, that's just asking for a social scandal."

McAfee wrote than 96 percent of people use their phones to take pictures, and 49 percent send or receive sexual content via video, photo, e-mail, or messaging. People also store this provocative correspondence -- 50 percent of adults store sexts and images they receive. While the majority of sexters, 77 percent, send this racy content to their significant others, 16 percent send it to complete strangers.

Unsurprisingly, the age group that is most keen on sexting is 18 to 24-year-olds -- 70 percent of people in this age group receive sexually suggestive photos and messages. Also, men are more likely than women to send and receive intimate information -- 61 percent of men partake in sexting and suggestive photo taking, while 48 percent of women do.

McAfee cautions that people shouldn't share smartphone passcodes or social network passwords -- because a scorned ex could cyberstalk or cause quite a bit of embarrassment.

"Far too many people are sharing e-mail and bank account passwords with their partners," McAfee wrote. "By sharing too much you run the risk of having your information go public without your knowledge, posing a threat to your privacy and identity."

According to McAfee, 69 percent of people secure their smartphone with a passcode but 46 percent still share their e-mail and social networking passwords.

"With all the stories we've heard about intimate photos being leaked, it's hard to believe people are still sharing their passwords," McAfee consumer business vice president Gary Davis said in a statement. "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."

McAfee gathered its data from a December 2013 survey of more than 1,500 US consumers between the ages of 18 to 54.

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