Boomers Beware: Do You Know The Risks of Sexting on Social Media?

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Recently, several studies have revealed some surprising, and possibly quite embarrassing, results concerning the sexy social media behavior of Boomers. A study out of the Futures Company looked at social media usage amongst over-50 aged adults. It revealed that amongst adults, aged 50-74, 24% have sent personal, or intimate, photos and messages via text, email or photo over outlets like Facebook, Twitter, et al.  And that 24% were just the people who answered truthfully.

Another study, done by the Harris Interactive poll found that 1 in 5 adults “sext”, creating a sexually explicit text message and sending it via their phone. Amongst these, 1 in 10 “sexters” are Boomer-aged adults, who are very active on social media; say the software security company McAfee.  Based on their study done, 4 out of 5, 50-75-year-old adults are highly active on social media like Facebook, et al.

Though most Boomers are using social media to stay connected to friends who’ve moved away, or grandchildren and other relatives, some are using it for exchanging personal and, often, private, information with people, or places, on the internet they really don’t know from Adam. A Lookout Survey revealed “habitual” sexting amongst Boomers with women doing the most of it versus men in their same age bracket.

A good deal of sexting by older adults is done innocently by married couples, or those in newer relationships, looking to heat up their relationship by sending their spouse, or significant other, a sexy text or photo with the promise of more fun to come later.  The trouble may come if the new relationship doesn’t work out and someone has a grudge. They may use your texts or photos publicly as payback. Your spouse may even turn psycho-nasty on you in a divorce and use them for blackmail with your family.

Though younger, 18-34 year-olds are doing the same, if not more, sexting and sending sexy selfies, the surveys show that most of them are more tech-savvy than older Boomer adults.  They know better how to protect themselves on social media.  Older adults, the surveys question, may find themselves the victim of identity theft, financial scams that target seniors, or even blackmail by offering “TMI” – too much information.

If you’re using online dating sites to meet new people, be very careful what type of photos and/or texts, emails you send people you meet this way – especially someone pressuring you to do so. You don’t really know who they are and what other motives they may have.  Imagine someone getting hold of a racy photo, or “sext” you sent them in what you thought was a trusted, private exchange.

Then, they threaten to publish it somewhere publicly on the internet if you don’t pay them or give them something else they want.  Your kids, friends, co-workers, neighbors and grandkids may see it if you don’t do what they demand, they threaten. The thought is nauseating, yet the possibility of it is frighteningly real. Stories have been on the news about teenagers tragically embarrassed publicly by photos or sexts, which resulted in their suicides.

The cautionary tale here is, once you send a photo, or text, via social media, there’s no way to retract it.  It can be sent anywhere else by someone without many scruples without your consent.  So, even though the Boomers opened the door to more open sexual behavior back in the 60’s, there wasn’t the threat that your sexuality, via a few texted words, or 1 photo, may come back to haunt you in a bad way.  If politician Anthony Weiner taught us anything, it was to use extreme caution in sexting and sending sexy selfies on social media.

About Dr. Rosenberg

Dr. Mark A. Rosenberg, MD
Dr. Mark Rosenberg received his doctorate from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1988 and has been involved with drug research since 1991. With numerous certifications in several different fields of medicine, psychology, healthy aging and fitness, Dr. Rosenberg has a wide breadth of experience in both the public and private sector with particular expertise in both the mechanism of cancer treatment failure and in treating obesity. He currently is researching new compounds to treat cancer and obesity, including receiving approval status for an investigational new drug that works with chemotherapy and a patent pending for an oral appetite suppressant.

He is currently President of the Institute for Healthy Aging, Program Director of the Integrative Cancer Fellowship, and Chief Medical Officer of Rose Pharmaceuticals.

His work has been published in various trade and academic journals. In addition to his many medical certifications, he also personally committed to physical fitness and is a certified physical fitness trainer.