Sexting is sharing sexual messages, photos or videos.
If a person is naked or semi-naked that means it’s a sexual photo or video. Texting a message with sexual content is also sexting. You should never feel pressured into sexting, if someone sends you a sexual text or photo you don’t need to send one back. You never in any circumstance ‘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 it could be shared with other people. This can leave you feeling worried and embarrassed and you might get unwanted attention. People can also 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 or contact the services recommended below.
Know the law
The law is clear – taking or sharing photos or videos of under 18’s is illegal.
If you’re worried about a photo you’ve sent you should try to have a conversation with the person you sent it to. Ask them to delete it and explain why you’re worried. This So You Got Naked Online guide might help.
If you are thinking about sexting, it’s important 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) Centre. CEOP 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.
Find help in your local area
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.