Everything’s easier with a smart phone in your hand and your head in the Cloud. From creating a capella videos with yourself to accessing photos from three years ago, there’s an app for anything and everything. It’s just a symptom of the technological age, and no one can say that the world isn’t progressing in some way.
But does easier always mean better?
Recently, investigators discovered a “sexting ring” operating out of Cañon City High School in Colorado, finding that at least 100 students participated in the illicit sharing of nude photos. Between 300 and 400 photos were traded via a “photo vault” app, which allows the discreet sharing of such content.
Sexting has become a commonality in this day and age, and ever since the rise of Snapchat, so have these photo vault apps. Since 2012, technological photo vaults have garnered attention from secretive smart phone users everywhere. These apps, sometimes disguised as calculators and usually password-protected, can store not only photos but even text messages, contacts, and bookmarks all in one place.
According to some students interviewed by CBS News, their peers use vaults to hide information from their parents. But these three students interviewed, ranging from 13 to 17, also say that sexting is “casual”, and that teens who take part in this behavior adopt a “Why not?” attitude.
Ironically enough, the existence of these secret apps is barely secret – there are forums online that discuss the functionality of vaults and even blogs that review these apps.
Naked Security, one of those blogs that reviewed some vault apps, wrote not all vault apps were as secure as they promised, especially not the free versions. Smart phone apps and social media sites have increasingly been under fire for their lack of regard for users’ privacy. Snapchat’s recently altered policies, for example, vaguely grant the app the right to any information users provide, including photos. So, the photos that supposedly disappear in 10 seconds or less are actually saved forever by the company who promised these photos would be fleeting.
Teens are often pressured to act maturely, but only in certain ways. Sexually, minors are legally bound to refrain from mature activity; however, teens are often more adept than their adult counterparts at using smart phones. While parental controls are often encouraged, they aren’t always utilized, and it’s become increasingly more common to see a five year-old with an iPad. It becomes a question of whether or not that child should have access to such technology anyway.
The advancement of smart technology and the Internet have sped up the aging process. Wasn’t puberty already painful enough?
By Carina Vo