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[Q&A] Are My Pics Still Out There?

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Need an answer to a burning digital question? Every other week, we'll be running one of the best Q&As we've received from our team of experts on digital ethics. This week’s response comes from the Boss of Me Campaign.

QUESTION

About 6 years ago I sent a guy I had been talking to nude photos over the internet.I look back and I can't believe I ever sent nude pictures of myself. I wish I never did. I have no idea whether or not those guys actually deleted my photos, sent them to people, or posted them on the internet. My question is, how would I know if my photos are still lingering around?

ANSWER

The only mistakes are the ones we don’t learn from.  It is really wonderful that you have reflected on this choice and it sounds like you have been able to carry the lessons with you so that you don’t make a similar decision which could have a negative impact on how you feel about yourself.  At the same time, it is also important to forgive yourself for mistakes you have made so that you can heal from their consequences.  While you can certainly try googling images of yourself and looking around on the internet, it’s doubtful that they would be posted under your name and truthfully could be very hard to find.  Most likely, if they had been posted you would have already come across it.  Even if there is no physical contact, doing something sexually you don’t really feel comfortable with can be really harmful to your self-worth and it really feels exploitative.  You might have this lingering fear because you haven’t completely forgiven yourself or healed from your experience and it might be useful to reflect on where these feelings are coming from so you can put your past all the way behind you.

Have a question about how to delete digital drama from your life? You can submit questions to be answered by trained experts by sending an email to QandA@athinline.org.

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Tags: sexting | Q and A

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