Anthony Weiner
Anthony Weiner
Anthony Weiner

We like to warn our children about many things and lately sexting has been on the top of the list. We caution against it, put applications in place to prevent it, and even treat kids as criminals over it. However, it is us adults who are getting far more press about it lately than kids ever have.

Congressman Anthony Weiner is just the latest in a string of scandals. When this story broke, the media was tripping over itself asking: Did he do it? And now, with his admission of guilt, the new question is: Should he resign?

In the meantime, no one has offered the public a chance to look at what really matters: When thinking of sexting, how does an adult answer the question – To do or not to do?

Adults have been “sexting” for ages – we just called it ‘dirty talk’ – dirty talk that used to land on a significant other’s ears and disintegrate…until now. With the onslaught of real time apps and devices like iPhones and Twitter, messaging anywhere anytime has become the norm. And yet, many adults fail to understand the permanent, far-reaching, and severe implications of these devices. Simply put, many adults don’t understand that once you send/sext it, it’s never coming back or going away. So, if you’re thinking about sexting, you might as well print it, sign it, and put your address, phone, and photo on it and then put it on a billboard in Times Square for the world to see.

Far too many adults are letting the heat of the moment control their actions –forgetting that once they send it, it lives forever on the Internet. It is like the Library of Congress, a repository of history. Your sext might never make it to Times Square, but you might want to think of it like it is. Granted, you might want it there for the world to see you, but that’s a question only you can answer.

Congressman Weiner and Brett Favre are just the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come unless adults, famous or not, start practicing what they preach to kids – don’t do it – unless you want it to live forever on the Internet.

For more on the Internet’s memory, see also Charlie Sheen Reminds Us, The Internet Has a Memory and The Bachelorette and the Drunken Passed Out Bachelor.

About Hemu Nigam

Hemanshu (Hemu) Nigam is the founder of SSP Blue, the leading advisory firm for online safety, security, and privacy challenges facing corporations and governments. A veteran of online security, he brings over 20 years of experience in private industry, government, and law enforcement. He has been called upon by institutions from the United Nations to The White House to provide counsel on the world’s most critical online protection challenges and has been a featured expert by BBC, BusinessWeek, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. You can get more security tips at his website, Twitter, and Facebook.



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