In the wake of Celebgate, there’s been a flood of apps that claim to be totally hack-proof, so you can send your nip slips and dick pics and vag grabs without worrying about them getting intercepted by 4channers. There was Disckreet, a “secure sexting app” for couples which claimed to encrypt your steamy selfies and prevent anyone from accessing them. And then, of course, there was Snapchat, but we all know how well that one turned out.
Now, there’s yet another app on the marketplace that claims to be able to securely conceal your sexts from prying eyes (and keyboards.) It’s called Hidely, and it’s a “zero trace camera and private photo gallery” that creates an encrypted locked box on your wireless device, which its makers claim is safer than cloud storage. (Suck it, two-step verification!) Every picture you take on your phone or tablet will automatically be transferred to Hidely, which requires a password to access.
Unfortunately, Hidely isn’t perfect: The biggest issue is that it doesn’t let you edit the photo inside the app itself (sorry, guys, you can’t put smiley faces or photos of Shiba Inus on your nipples), and you can only send photos to someone else in the form of a single-use link—and that someone else also has to be on Hidely.
That said, there are some obvious advantages to an app like Hidely over an ephemeral messaging app like Snapchat for sexting purposes. For starters, because the app is password-protected, only you can access the photos on it; unlike Snapchat, where users can use a third-party app like Snapsaved (the source of the most recent Snapchat photo leak) to save photos without the sender’s knowledge.
Hidely’s photos also aren’t ephemeral, meaning they don’t disappear immediately after you send them. (And let’s be honest, the disappearing act is more novelty than anything else… and really, can anyone really get that worked up over a six-second peek?)
But what the existence of Hidely ultimately proves is that there’s a real, dire need for apps that allow users to send sexts safely and securely, even if they don’t necessarily have the bells and whistles of other messaging apps. According to a recent poll, one in four teens have sent or received sexually explicit photos and messages; indeed, sexting is so common that it’s often considered a necessary prelude to actual sexual activity (or “the new first base,” as it were).
It doesn’t really matter whether you think teen sexting is a bad thing for our society, or reflects poorly on the sexualization of youth culture; the fact is, it’s happening. All the time. Just like regular sex ed, we need to start taking a prophylactic rather than a preventive approach to sexting; they’re going to do it anyway, so we might as well teach them how to do it responsibly.
H/T Betabeat | Photo by FaceMePls/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)