Texting Apps

Video credit: The Future of Messaging Apps: Commerce – posted by Wall Street Journal on Youtube

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Texting applications for smartphones have experienced an atmospheric rise in the last year. In April 2013, the volume of messages sent by texting apps overtook messages sent by SMS.  It is estimated that by the end of 2013  messages will “represent double the volume of SMS by the end of the year”. The most popular apps include WhatsApp, Snapchat, Viber, Vine and BBM. These applications send messages for no cost across a wifi or network connection.

These messages are  often casual in nature yet it is important to remember that messages sent with any platform can impact your digital identity. While the message might have been intended for one particular person,  it can be easily shared  across the internet heavily impacting the reputation of the original author.

Sexting, or sharing sexuality explicit images by text message,  is a major concern for many young adults.  Images shared in trust can be vindictively spread online or even hacked without the recipients knowledge.  Sexting is a crime if the creators or recipients are under 18; child pornography charges might be laid even if no images were shared.
Think before you ink

  • “You should ponder the consequences of every text just as you might think before telling a parrot all of your secrets” (Ponderbeard tweets).
  • Your text message or photo is one click away from being forwarded to another person’s entire contact list and so on and so forth… Consider what you want to pass on. Practice constructing messages you do want everyone to see.
  • “Sexting becomes a legal issue when teens (under 18) are involved because any nude photos they may send of themselves would put the recipients in possession of child pornography” (wikipedia). This included apps like Vine and Snapchat.
  • Remember that information lasts forever on the internet.  Even if apps like Snapchat claim to send self destructing messages, information can always be found. 
  • You are probably already a pro at networking – at least in a casual, social way. As you move forward in your academic and professional lives, it is a good idea to think about how you can hone these skills for a different audience and purpose.

Discuss

The Digital Tattoo Project encourages critical discussion on topics surrounding digital citizenship and online identity. There are no correct answers and every person will view these topics from a different perspective. Be sure to complete the previous sections before answering the questions.

  • What third party providers are  you trusting with your information?
  • Do you send information using messaging apps that you would like to keep confidential?

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