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While technology has opened up our options like never before, apps and online tools can pose a of risks. Revenge porn when a partner publicly shares intimate photos or videos meant for their eyes only sex doxing when private details like your address or workplace are publicly shared online, typically as a form of harrassment are the biggest threats, say leading sex educators and cybersecurity cyber. But experts believe that by assembling an online sexual health toolkit—as in, a series of best practices deed to safeguard your privacy and mitigate potential data breaches—you can keep your most sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands and still have a great time.
Here are the most important steps to help you practice safer sex online. People like to sext, a lot. While the lion's share of cyber sexual activity is all in good fun, the potential risks are real. Bottom line? On the surface, these free features may help you feel safer and more inconspicuous.
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But not so fast, say experts. The reason? D, a sociologist and clinical sexologist.
Secure messaging apps offering end-to-end encryption can prevent hackers from intercepting texts. Beyond al, other apps offering end-to-end encryption on texts, images, and videos include ThreemaTelegram, and WhatsApp. You can configure WhatsApp and other messaging platforms to send messages via web data or cellular networks, says Shavell, and then use a VPN for an additional layer of security.
But keep in mind that like Instagram which does not offer end-to-end encryption on cyber or textsWhatsApp is owned by Facebook and even though messages are encrypted, the company will hand over all kinds of data if subpoenaed, whereas al keeps minimal user logswhich is another reason why it's lauded by cybersecurity experts, whistleblowers, and journalists free. VPNs safeguard your personal information by concealing your IP address and creating a secure tunnel for browsing. No one wants their name, banking information, or other sensitive data to end up on the Dark Webbut some people might feel that safeguarding personally identifiable information online requires too many steps or tech savvy to bother with.
Security experts agree that a virtual private network VPN can be a great line of defense.
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Deed to conceal IP addresses and act as a secure tunnel for browsing,and other basic online activity, VPNs can be terrific for everything from shopping online to having a virtual throwdown with a partner. You just have to make sure the VPN will work on your devices. Even with a VPN in place, your internet history and passwords may still be accessible to would-be snoops who have access to your physical devices. It may not seem like much, but it could serve as a best deterrent for anyone who may be trying to snoop into your private life without consent.
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Another thing to be mindful of is your environment. Most experts recommend that you avoid posing in front of home decorations, personal items, and other unique objects, as these can be used to link photos to your real identity. EXIF data can reveal the date, time, and geographic location of the original picture, so it's a good idea to scrub it. This metadata is ever-present in your images unless you take steps to remove it, and according to experts, there are a couple ways to do so.
One of the easiest, Jackson noted, is to adjust the settings in your phone.
Depending on your phone, this process may involve a few different steps, but it can be an effective way to eliminate some revealing details. For that reason, he considers EXIF scrubbers a best practice for any online sexual health toolkit.
We rely on Zoom for so much these days—conferences with coworkers, hangouts with friends, and so forth—but is it safe for video sex? According to experts, it depends, especially if you for Zoombombingwherein uninvited attendees are able to hop into and potentially disrupt an intimate meeting.
Technically speaking, Zoom prohibits obscene activities, which can include virtual sex and notably, virtual orgies.
Melancon noted that FaceTime offers end-to-end encryption iMessages, however, does not and retains metadata, so be careful. Aside from FaceTime, Jackson and Melancon recommend using al for video sex, as the app offers a secure video-chat functionality that is every bit as protected as its messaging counterpart. Catfishing might have been popularized thanks to a documentary, but there's nothing glam about it. For some people, online dating is alluring because it offers a degree of anonymity, and tools cyber VPNs, al, and ad blockers can help maintain that.
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But experts agree that total online invisibility is unlikely—the best you can expect is to create separation between your real life and your internet activity. Other big red flags might relate to the person themselves. Do they have an otherworldly, model-level degree of attractiveness? Are they trying to push the relationship very quickly yet are hesitant to jump on the phone or engage in any type of direct communication?
How to have safe sex online, according to the experts
Worried you might be getting catfished? In addition to using Google, Melancon recommends TinEye.
While most folks may opt to delete everything ASAP, experts say that wanting to hold onto erotic correspondence even long after the fact is pretty common, too. But given their provocative nature, sexts and nude images should be handled with care. If you are trying to save content, experts caution against relying on DropBox or the cloud.
Both Shavell and Jackson recommend using encrypted, password-based storage, with a password longer than 12 characters. Before you start sexting or free anything intimate online, get consent, then try to figure out what it is you really want. The -one key for everybody is to stay safe.
If you think you've been the victim of revenge porn, it's important to understand that you have rights. Porn consumption has proliferated during quarantine—a study showed more Americans now search for porn online than than prior to the pandemic, and sites like OnlyFansa pay-per-view subscription platform frequently used to distribute amateur adult content, have seen record growth.
Yet, the danger of nonconsensual sex and video sharing is always present and important to keep in mind. Given how widespread the problem is, educating yourself about sex porn laws in your state can help you feel more empowered. The product experts at Reviewed have all your shopping needs covered. Follow Reviewed on FacebookTwitterand Instagram for the latest deals, product reviews, and more.
We help you find the best stuff and make the most of the stuff you already own. Money All Money Credit Cards. Written by Shayna Murphy. Related content feature These 7 sex toys are perfect for best relationships—or social distancing. Credit: Getty Images.
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