Sending a sexual text, image or video can be dangerous if shared with the wrong person. Once you send a message, you're not in control of what happens to it. Even if it’s posted online we can help. Here's some advice about sexting
What is sexting?
When people talk about sexting, they usually mean sending and receiving:
- naked pictures or 'nudes'
- 'underwear shots'
- sexual or 'dirty pics'
- rude text messages or videos.
They can be sent to or from a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend or someone you've met online.
Sexting can easily happen. Things can go wrong – even when you didn't mean for them to.
What you need to know about sexting:
- once you send a message you can't control what happens to it
- don't let someone guilt or pressure you into sending a sex text
- if you've sent a nude pic, have an honest conversation with the person you sent it to. Ask them to delete it
- if an indecent or nude pic of you is posted online, you can contact the website directly or make a report online to try and get it removed.
I've already shared photos-what do I do?
When sexting goes badly, it can make you feel ashamed, guilty, embarrassed or anxious. But there are things you can do to make the situation better and prevent it from happening again.
Try having an honest conversation with the person you sent the image to. Ask them to delete it. The quicker you're able to do this the better. You can't control what someone will do with an image, but having an honest conversation can help to make sure they won't pass it on.
The sooner you talk to somebody about the situation the better. This could be your mum, dad, carer or a school teacher. Your school will have ways of dealing with these sorts of problems and can confiscate mobiles if they believe they have sexual images on them.
Reporting an image or video
If you’re under 18 and an indecent or nude pic of you is posted online, that's illegal. But we can help. You can contact the website directly yourself or report it to the National Crime Agency.
Not sure whether or not to say something? Making a report can be scary, but childline counsellors are there to support you. They can talk about what might happen and talking to them is confidential.
Is sexting illegal?
When you’re under 18 it’s against the law for anyone to take or have a sexual photo of you – even if it’s a selfie.
This means that if you pressure someone into taking a photo or you share a sexual photo with someone, you’re breaking the law. The police have the power to decide whether it’s for the best to record what’s happened or to take things further. But the law is there to protect young people, not punish them.
If you’re both under 18 and in a healthy relationship it’s unlikely that the police would want to take things further.
For more information and advice about sexting visit childline