Inappropriate Messaging

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In this article we discuss inappropriate messaging, and things to know when engaging in it.

What is Inappropriate Messaging?

Inappropriate Messaging or Sexting = Sex + Texting

Inappropriate Messaging or Sexting is when someone shares a sexual message, photo or video through a private or public platform such as WhatsApp, Snapchat or other social media.

Examples of Inappropriate Messaging:

  • Posting content of yourself posing in underwear or without any clothes on
  • Texting about intimate things that you’re doing or want to do
  • Sending pictures/videos of your private body parts.

Why Exchanging Inappropriate Content Can be Risky?

You might feel curious about exchanging inappropriate content, or you may want to please your boyfriend/girlfriend. However, this behavior is risky and even illegal if you are under 18!

It might get shared!

No matter how much you trust somebody now, people fall out and split up. If they still have your message, they may no longer feel obliged to keep it a secret. Similarly, be aware that when you use a camera to video chat or send snapchats, people can still take screenshots and store these images.

It might start a vicious cycle!

Once you send an inappropriate message, the other person might want more and make you feel guilty if you want to stop. Some people may even blackmail you when they get a hold of your intimate pictures.

It’s illegal

Taking or sharing indecent pictures of anyone under the age of 18 is illegal. So even if you want it and take an inappropriate picture of yourself, you are committing a crime. Keeping explicit pictures of someone else under 18 is also against the law.


Feeling Pressured? How To Say "No"

Are you worried that someone will like you less if you don’t send an inappropriate image?

Do you feel that engaging in risky messaging is necessary to prove that you’re a grown up or cool?

Is someone offering you money or a gift for your pictures?


  • You shouldn’t do things you don’t feel comfortable with.

  • Not everyone in a relationship is engaging in inappropriate messaging.

  • Some people don’t do it at all.

  • Sending and receiving inappropriate images of a minor is illegal in most countries and can carry harsh penalties.

Steps you can take when feeling pressured:

  • Explain how you feel - A good friend or someone you love should respect your concerns and not pressure you to do something you don't feel comfortable doing.

  • Humour can help - Use a funny gif or meme to help defuse the situation and bypass unwanted requests.

  • Block or report them - If someone is asking over and over for inappropriate images, you can block or report them.

  • Talk to someone - Tell an adult you trust, check out more advice here, or anonymously reach out to Kids Helpline to receive more advice on how to handle these type of scenarios.

Worried About a Message You've Sent?

You might feel scared, guilty or embarrassed – but please don’t worry. Here are tips on actions you can take:

Tip 1: Ask for it to be deleted.

Get in touch with the person who received your message. Explain that you’re not comfortable with them keeping the picture. Ask them to delete it.

If the situation got out of control and your picture has been shared:

Tip 2: Don’t reply to threats

If someone is trying to blackmail or threaten you – don’t reply and don’t send more photos. This can help you take control of the situation.

Tip 3: Get help

Don't be afraid to ask an adult for help, contact your school, or reach out to Kids Helpline for advice. You might feel embarrassed, but it’s easier to cope when you have help and someone someone you can share your worries with.

Tip 4: Report it

You can report the issue to:

  • Social media sites: eSafety has further guidance on how to report inappropriate exchanges on Snapchat, Facebook, WhatsApp and other platforms..

  • eSafety Commissioner: You can report it here for help removing the content.


You Received an Inappropriate Message

You Asked Someone for Inappropriate Content

Don't show it or share it with anyone

Try to understand the level of trust that this person has put in you. Even if you have a fight or break up, don’t share it with others – it can get you and the other person in serious trouble.

Delete it

Don’t keep this type of content. The longer it is saved on your phone, the more likely somebody else will see it – for example, if your phone is stolen, or if a friend looks through your photos.

You Received Inappropriate Content Without Asking

You don't need to respond

Just because you have received a inappropriate content doesn't mean you have to send that type of content back.

Block and Report them

Never hesitate to block or report this type of content and/or people.


You Want to Ask For Inappropriate Content

You might think that it’s part of flirting or being in a relationship, but remember:

  • Asking someone for a inappropriate content might be illegal.
  • You might make the other person uncomfortable.
  • It might upset the person and damage your relationship.
  • You might get yourself blocked or reported.
  • You might ruin your own reputation.