Updated: 02/07/2014 01:50

Sexting rampant in Singapore: survey

Sexting rampant in Singapore: survey

A survey by security firm McAfee has shown that almost one in two Singaporeans have sent or received a sext. 

Sexting is the sharing of suggestive SMSes, naked photos and videos of themselves with one another. 

The News Desk with more on the risks involved. 

It would appear that Singaporeans like getting hot and bothered through 'sexting' - and that is sharing suggestive SMSes, naked photos and videos of themselves with one another. 

Results of the McAfee survey released on Wednesday show that 44 per cent, or close to one in two, of the 354 respondents have sent or received a sext. 

And sexting isn't just confined to the young. 

Those from 35 to 44 years old make up the largest group (29%) of those who've sexted. 

Clinical sexologist and intimacy coach Dr Martha Lee is not surprised at the findings. 

"It's just like a screen that makes us feel less shy and vulnerable. We can plan what we want to say and that itself is kind of naughty and forbidden. And Singapore being one of the countries in the world who is the most tech savvy, it's no wonder that moving onto sexting is just an extension of how we are so comfortable we are with technology."

And some will even go to the extent of sending intimate photos or messages to strangers. 

Almost one in ten Singaporeans in the McAfee survey say they've done that. 

Among those who've sent sexts, more than half (58%) keep what they've sent. 

While two in three (64%) of those who've received sexts, store it in their phones. 

Non-profit cyber security awareness organisation ISC2's Application Security Advisor Anthony Lim warns against this. 

He says the moment intimate material is shared electronically with someone, users enter a situation called "unplanned data proliferation". 

"Whether it's Facebook or mobile phone, you don't know where it's gone and you don't know who else is going to sharing what else with who. This is how it extends the risk because you lose control."

Mr Lim adds that little legal action is available, simply because such data are personal and not commercial. 

But he says sext senders and recipients can protect themselves, and each other. 

"If you want to keep the information, find a way to store it else where. In a hard disk in a locked cupboard but do not store it on a portable mobile device. As long as it's not erased and sits inside a mobile device, it's waiting to be exposed."

-By Fann Sim

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