Sexting is when someone sends or receives sexually explicit texts, images or video. This includes sending nude or rude picture or video messages, including selfies. Of course these images aren’t always shared via text message, they can also be shared via email, social media or online messaging services for example.
They can be sent from a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend or someone you’ve met online. You might have also sent a sexual photo, video or text to someone else.
It’s easy to think that everybody is sending these nude selfies – they are not! Remember, any pictures or video clips you share online, via text or by email can be shared more widely, even if you send them to someone you trust.
Phones can get lost or stolen, emails can get hacked or someone you trusted may share your images or videos even when they have promised they wouldn’t. It is easy to forget, but once you send something electronically there is a risk of it becoming public.
Putting pressure on someone to send a nude picture, or sharing someone’s picture without their permission, even if it’s a friend and they say it’s just banter, is wrong and even illegal.
Taking, sharing or possessing an indecent photo of anyone under 18, even if you are the person in the picture or the same age as them, is a criminal offence.
If you have been sent images that have made you feel uncomfortable or if you have sent images of yourself and are worried that they have been shared or may be shared in the future, we are here to help. You can talk to us in confidence and we will find the best way forward together.
If you would like to you can meet with one of our friendly staff in person or you could take part in activities with other young people who have had similar experiences to you.
We will support you in whatever way suits you best. We are here to help you get back on your feet so please get in touch.
It doesn’t matter if you haven’t told anyone about your experience before or if it happened a long time ago. You can find out more about the support we offer on our ‘What we do’ page.
All of our services are free and confidential.
Staying safe from sexting and revenge porn
If you take a picture of yourself – whether sexual or not – and send it electronically to another person, you must be prepared for the risk it will end up in the public domain.
Even if you trust the person you send it to, that may not be in your control because:
- Your phone/device with the image on may get lost or stolen.
- Your friend’s phone/device may be lost or stolen with the image on it.
- Your devices may have malicious software on them which steals the images.
- The service you use to send the images may be hacked, and the images stolen.
- You may fall out with the person you sent them to, and they may distribute them to others.
Remember: Taking, sharing or possessing an indecent photo of anyone under 18, even if you are the person in the picture or the same age as them, is a criminal offence.
If there is an indecent image of you on a website:
- You can try and contact the website and ask them to remove it – there is normally a “contact” button at the bottom of a website’s main page.
- If you believe someone has shared or published sexual images of you without your consent contact 101 to inform police.
- “Revenge porn” – where someone shares private, sexual materials, with the intention of causing embarrassment or distress – is also now a criminal offence, and offenders can be fined and receive up to two years in prison.