FLORIDA, USA — It's something many people have received on social media, but also something people don't talk about: cyber flashing.
Cyber flashing is sending a nude, unsolicited picture of a body part to someone. It's a term that is being used more, but it is not new.
Laura Charanza said she has been cyber flashed and believes most people who send these unsolicited pictures have narcissistic characteristics.
"It’s a move of power and to show who is in control," Charanza stated. She is a recovery coach and the author of a book that discusses narcissistic abuse.
"It’s not that it’s new, but it’s coming to the forefront because we have so many more avenues to send them," Charanza added.
One of those avenues is dating apps. A popular dating app, Bumble, started a movement to make cyber flashing illegal.
Those who work for Bumble recognized receiving a nude and unsolicited picture can be traumatizing. Many users on their app were reporting this behavior.
"It isn’t an activity that should be existing at all, and the fact that we have to make it illegal is a second step. The first is that it shouldn’t be happening," said Payton Iheme, the Public Policy Lead for Bumble.
The company is headquartered in Texas, which is the first and only state to make cyber flashing illegal. In 2019, lawmakers passed House Bill 2789 that criminalizes cyber flashing. With that law in place, a person can be fined around $500 for cyber flashing in the state of Texas.
"It takes both community taking action, calling their policymakers," Iheme emphasized.
Bumble is trying to get the same law in all states by educating people on what it is and why it is a problem.
"This fight we’re on isn’t just about protecting our users, but everyone online," Iheme stated.
As far as safety on their app, Bumble has a privacy detector that flags possible nude images. If someone does receive an unsolicited nude image of a body part, they can report it on the app. Bumble has a list of guidelines users must follow.
Iheme said it's important to make sure you take a screenshot of the message so they know who sent it and when. From there Bumble will take action.
"On Bumble you can report that on our app and we will take action," Iheme stated.
10 Tampa Bay reached out to Florida lawmakers to see if they are considering a bill to make cyber flashing illegal. While we wait to hear back, there are no proposed bills in the legislature.
Those who work at Bumble emphasized criminalizing cyber flashing took work and speaking up.
"If your state doesn’t have a bill like this, contact your policymakers. We want to make sure we push this forward in as many states as we can," Iheme said.
Iheme explained the best way to create change is to contact Florida lawmakers.