Experts warn against sending racy photos to anyone online

20% surveyed said they'd received racy pictures

INDIANAPOLIS - Have you ever sent a private or suggestive photo to someone? Studies show many of you have, and sexting is on the rise.

A February 2014 Pew Research Center survey shows 9 percent of cellphone owners surveyed have sent a racy photo to someone, while 20 percent said they have received one.

The numbers of received sexts is highest among adults 18-24 years old, with 44 percent saying they'd gotten a racy message. But respondents in the 25-34 years old category admitted to sending the most sexts, with 22 percent saying they'd done it. 

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Experts say sexting is opening the door to a form of cyber exploitation that's ruining reputations with the click of a button -- revenge porn.

"It's not a good feeling. It's not a good feeling at all when you don't give permission and they expose your body," said Desiree Welborn, who is among the thousands of people who have been violated by revenge porn.

She said that when she broke up with her ex, he posted racy photos -- originally meant for his eyes only -- to social media.

Her situation is one example of why cyber experts warn against sexting and mixing relationships with social media.

"When dating someone, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, can be the devil. They can break you up quicker than a mother-in-law will," said Gregory Evans, an online security expert. "So, what I recommend is don't put your ex on your social media pages. The reason why? They will find out who all of your friends are. They will start friending your friends... You guys have a bad break-up. He has the pictures or she has the pictures of you. He (or she) will then start taking those pictures and sending them directly to your friends on your social media accounts."

Once personal pictures are posted to social media or on any of hundreds of revenge porn websites, experts said they are almost impossible to get off the Internet. The law hasn't even caught up with technology.

Watch Jade Hindmon' s special report on revenge porn Friday on RTV6 News at 11:00.

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