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Sexting: Just the facts

'Sexting' is sharing sexual messages (including texts), photos or videos.

And if the content has a person who is naked or semi-naked, then it counts as a sexual photo or video.

Never feel pressured into sexting: if someone sends you a sexual text or photo, you don’t need to send one back.  There are no circumstances where you ‘owe’ anyone a sexual message, image or video so don’t feel guilty about not sending one.

Once you’ve shared a sexual message, photo or video, you’ve no control over what happens to it, and can’t stop it from being shared with other people.

At best, this can leave you feeling worried and embarrassed, and at worst you might get unwanted attention, and find that some people use these images to bully and harass you.

If you’re sent a sexual message, photo or video, respect the sender’s privacy, delete the photo and never share it with anyone else.

If someone’s shared or posted online a photo you sent to them, speak to an adult you trust straightaway or contact one of the services recommended below.

Know the law

The law is clear – taking or sharing photos or videos of under 18s is illegal.

If you’re worried about a photo you’ve sent, try to have a conversation with the person you sent it to. Ask them to delete it and explain why you’re worried.

If you’re thinking about sexting, make sure you’re aware of the risks.

Have you heard about the Zipit App?

If someone’s trying to get you to send them naked images of yourself, use the images on Zipit to keep the situation in control. Zipit helps you get flirty chat back on the right track. It’s packed with killer comebacks and top tips to help you stay in control of your chat game. Zipit is Childline’s app for Android, Apple and Blackberry smartphones (and iPod touch). It’s free to download.

How to get help

If someone has done something online to make you feel very worried or unsafe you can make a report to the national Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) CentreCEOP works across the country to keep children and young people safe.

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your public health nurse.

Cross Hatch

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Find out what services are available to you in your area. Remember your school nurse is always there to give you confidential help and support.

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