Nude selfies are not your friend

Selfies, Instragram, iPhone, Snapchat.

We live in a world where if you didn’t take a picture of it, it didn’t happen. People won’t believe you ate that burger unless you take a picture and type #YumYum.

Those in the technology industry have recognised this so now any Tom, Dick and Sally with a smartphone can take pristinephotographs in a matter of seconds and upload them in even less time. Anytime, anywhere.

Including in the bedroom.

Whether you come out looking sexy or awkward can go either way but one thing is sure, you now come out HD.

Couple this with the beast we lovingly call “the internet” and you get a pending recipe for disaster.

We all know the madness and socially unacceptable behaviour that can be incited by a break-up. Calling, riding past the house, crying in the rain, trying to get across the border to get back my original LA Lakers throwback.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Now with Twitter and its friends at our fingertips there’s a darker side to the way people can conduct themselves: revenge porn.

Revenge porn is another means by which a man attempts to establish dominance over a woman “out of his control” once the relationship ends.

And, in turn, becomes a form of abuse that is wildly unregulated.

When in the throes of passion and the first light of love people often feel that allowing partners to take nude pictures of them is exciting, daring, erotic. But what they do not often count on is the fact that a break-up can turn them into vile human beings.

The problem locally is that regulation usually goes the wrong way.

In Uganda, singer Desire Luzinda’s break-up resulted in her ex-boyfriend posting nude pictures of her to “teach her a lesson”. The response was to vilify Luzinda. The minister of ethics called for her arrest despite the fact that she was the victim here. She has now gone into hiding.

This is an increasingly widespread problem. In Kenya “lesbian sex pictures” of singer Avril Nyambura were leaked and went viral. The photos were rather explicit.

Here a few tips worth considering:

* If photos are taken then it should be on your phone, tablet or camera: Thinking someone will have those pictures and your best interest at heart when a break-up happens does not qualify as a logical path of thought. You cannot hope they will conduct themselves in a proper manner if you have a nasty break-up. Hope is not and never has been a strategy.
* Do not share them: Unless you’re willing to have the other person do what they want with them, do not share the photos with anyone.
* If someone says “send me a sexy photo”, think twice: Telling someone “delete this when you look at it” doesn’t guarantee they will. Nor does it guarantee they will not share it first before they delete it. Again, hope is not a strategy.
* Google Drive, Dropbox etc is not a safe storage space: Cloud sharing applications can also aid in things going viral. Furthermore Facebook inbox and Twitter DM are not leak proof. All someone needs is to access your account or for you to leave a computer logged in.
* If someone leaks your photos it is assault and there is legal recourse: No matter why they did it or how. Despite there being little legislation on it, with most of it being based in intellectual property, it is assault. And must be dealt with in that manner. Under South African law you can take defamation action against the publisher and perpetrator.

Once a picture is out there it is extremely hard to get it back. In fact it is basically impossible. With one retweet, one screenshot, one download the picture is no longer within its owner’s control.

Image – AFP