The students are sending racy and anonymous naked pictures to the Snapchat account ‘Nimmastudent’, which then sends them to everyone who follows that account, university newspaper Vox reports.
Nimmastudent claims to have gained 1,000 followers. According to the editors, they see their fair amount of naked breasts, penises, and butts every day.
‘It’s completely innocent as long as people voluntarily submit the pictures’, cultural psychologist Maerten Prins tells Vox. Prins researches sexual behaviour. ‘Young people have been doing this for years – a bit of gossip, a bit of teasing. Social media has just added a visual component and allows for materials to be spread further. But this certainly isn’t something to be concerned about.’
According to researcher Marijke Naezer at the Radboud University, the mass-sharing of naked pictures with strangers on Snapchat is new. ‘My research finds that naked photos are mainly exchanged in private chats. This is a new phenomenon as far as I’m concerned.’
‘It’s part of it’
Naezer, who researches how young people deal with sex on social media, says that ‘sexting’ is a part of the experience of sexuality. ‘For some people, sending naked photos is part of their sex life. It contributes to the excitement. As long as those photos have been shared voluntarily by the person in the picture themselves. […] It’s also possible that students post these photos for fun or to combat boredom’, she tells Vox.
According to Prins, women in particular are likely to send naked pictures out of insecurity. ‘They are trying to paint a better picture of themselves.’
UPDATE (Thursday, 9 February, 15:22): Since the original publication of this story, the Snapchat account has been shut down. ‘Nimmastudent is offline (for the time being)’, according to the account managers. They say that ‘all the media attention’ has made the account unmanageable. Nimmastudent has deleted all of the previously posted risqué photos.