Just in case you think nothing can still shock you, I wanted to let you that there are still trolls out here with tons of time on their hands, free Wi-Fi and a sick sense of humor.
I learned this the hard way – see what I did there – when a stranger “digitally flashed” me recently as I was riding the subway in New York City.
There I was minding my own business and playing CandyCrush – I wish I could say I was reading a great book, but train time is totally my CandyCrush time – when a penis pic popped up on my iPhone screen.
Someone on the train or on the platform tried to airdrop me the lewd image. I immediately declined the airdrop request and begun to look around the train car for the possible culprit. I scrunched my face and gave a stern look to everyone holding an iPhone, but quickly realized that there would be no way to identify the culprit from the dozen or so people on their phones.
Feeling defeated and slightly violated, I opened the Control Center on iPhone and switched my airdrop settings from “everyone” to “off.”
Later, I told a few friends about my experience and two of them told me they knew people who had been digitally flashed as well. I also did some research online and found some stories of other women who’d been cyber-violated on their train commutes as well.
Sadly, I don’t think this will be the last time you’ll be hearing of this. iPhones don’t keep a log of airdropped images, meaning there is no way to trace where a photo originated. So, digital flashers know there is little to no chance of them being caught.
Honestly, it was really crazy to learn that someone could send me a picture without revealing who they were. I can’t even old-school, snail-mail a letter without a return address, so this feels like a gaping hole that was bound to be exploited.
Apple, why not include the phone number of the person who is airdropping you images? The idea that they could be identified would probably deter many digital flashers. It seems like a no-brainer.
Until that happens, you can avoid being digitally flashed by making sure you turn you iPhone – or mac – airdrop settings to “contacts only” or “off.” Here is a step-by-step link to walk you through the process.
It only takes a moment to do and can mean the difference between a pleasant or unpleasant commute.