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10 Forms of Online Harassment


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Revenge Porn
Sexting might start off as consensual but can morph into revenge porn if it's circulated to others or placed online.. © Julian Stratenschulte/dpa/Corbis
Sexting might start off as consensual but can morph into revenge porn if it's circulated to others or placed online.. © Julian Stratenschulte/dpa/Corbis

I'm definitely showing my age here, but file sending nekkid pictures under something I just don't understand. Many relationships end very badly. Make a borderline-crazy person mad enough and those digital images of your bare booty are practically guaranteed to travel the length and breadth of the Internet. Revenge porn doesn't even have to be put online to do damage. Some people opt to hit a person where it hurts, emailing or texting graphic images to mom, dad, husband or other family members. Yikes.

Kevin Bollaert, a revenge porn site operator in San Diego, was sentenced in 2015 to 18 years in prison for actually charging women hundreds of dollars to have such mortifying pictures of themselves taken down. The subjects of the abuse have reported damaged careers, emotional well-being and relationships with spouses and parents as a direct result of the humiliation [source: Alcindor].

Extortion aside, it traditionally hasn't been illegal for someone to post nude photos of others online, but the law is playing a game of catch-up. Some states are trying to make revenge porn a crime [source: Mince-Didier].

Teen sexting (texting someone with a nude picture) is also a problem. Although it usually starts off consensually, nude photos have a way of making it into the wrong hands. "Once it leaves the intended recipient's phone or computer and is spread to others, then it is considered harassment," WHOA's Hitchcock says. Depending on the ages of the sender and the receiver, and the state they live in, there could be child pornography charges if the pictures get out [source: Theoharris].