Sexting: Telenet launches “digital condom”

The Flemish media company Telenet has launched a new app that provides extra protection if you are in the habit of texting saucy photos of yourself to contacts.  Telenet calls the app a “digital condom”.

The new “digital condom” allows people to add a watermark to photos.  This watermark includes the name and telephone number of the person who you sent the photo to.  In this way people can be identified if they start distributing the photo without permission.

Sexting, the sending of sexually explicit photographs via a smartphone, is extremely popular in Belgium.  Thorough research is lacking, but up to half of all 15-to-21-year-olds admit to have sent saucy pics of themselves.  Experts say this shouldn’t be seen as a problem and that it is all part and parcel of being young.  The problems start when the receiver starts forwarding the photo to all and sundry. 

Telenet’s Fabienne Beckers says that the app .comdom adds the receiver’s name and if desired also their phone number: “As a result they will be less enthusiastic about forwarding the pic.  Sometimes you hear of an entire school being plastered with one pupil’s photo.  In future this will also include the name of the person behind it!”

Adding the watermark does mean the photo is less focused, but Fabienne Beckers insists that senders will still be able to show what they want. You can also choose where the watermark appears and where it doesn’t: “We tested the app on youngsters and many of them said they were enthusiastic about using it”.

The app is available via www.comdom.be and the Apple Store, not via Google Play, because the company doesn’t want to encourage sexting.