Sexting = Sex + Texting
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 Sexting:
You might feel curious about sexting, or you may want to please your boyfriend/girlfriend. However, sexting is risky and even illegal if you are under 18!
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.
Once you send a sext, 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.
Taking or sharing indecent pictures of anyone under the age of 18 is illegal. So even if you want it and take a naked picture of yourself, you are committing a crime. Keeping sexual pictures of someone else under 18 is also against the law.
Are you worried that someone will like you less if you don’t send a nude?
Do you feel that sexting is necessary to prove you’re a grown up or cool?
Is someone offering you money or a gift for your pictures?
You might feel scared, guilty or embarrassed – but please don’t worry. Here are tips on actions you can take:
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 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.
Don't be afraid to ask an adult for help, contact your school, or reach out to Childhelp 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.
We have just mentioned that sexting under 18 is illegal BUT this law was made to protect you. US state laws on sexting vary widely, from fines/counseling to misdemeanor charges or prosecution for child pornography with harsh sentences. To learn more about state-by-state differences in sexting laws, visit Cyberbullying.org.
You can report the issue to:
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.
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.
Just because you have received a sext or nude doesn't mean you have to send one back.
Never hesitate to block or report this type of content and/or people.
You might think that it’s part of flirting or being in a relationship, but remember: