What is Sexting?
Sexting is when you send a sexual message, photo or video to someone else. It could be a picture of you, but sometimes it could be a picture of someone else possibly another peer that is circulated around a peer group.
Images, messages and videos can be sent to other peers, boyfriends/girlfriends, partners or someone you know or don’t know online.
Young people can send nude images using phones, tablets and laptops and can share them across any app, site or game, including during a livestream. It could include sharing them across devices using offline services like Airdrop or Bluetooth.
Children and young people may agree to sending a nude image of themselves. They can also be forced or coerced into sharing images by their peers or adults online.
What does sexting include?
- Being partly or completely naked, or in your underwear
- Posing in a sexual position
- Sending ‘nudes’
- Talking about sexual things you’re doing or want to do
- Doing sexual things on a live stream, video or photo
5 facts about sexting
- Images sent on sites like Snapchat can still be screenshot and saved
- It’s not okay for someone to pressure you into sending a nude picture
- Sending or receiving a nude when your under 18 is against the law
- Not everyone in a relationship will share nudes
- If something goes wrong, there is support to help
What can I do if I am being pressured into sending nude images or videos
Feeling pressured into sending nudes can make you feel worried and uncomfortable. You might not want to hurt someone’s feelings by saying no or, if someone has sent you a nude image/video you may feel like you owe them one in return. It’s important you only do things you want to do and feel okay about. Social pressures to engage in sexting can be overwhelming, it can also lead to difficult situations such as blackmailing, bullying and humiliation. Here are some tips to support you if you are feeling pressured into ‘sexting’ and to recognise signs of an unhealthy relationship.
- Ask the person to STOP. Sometimes in relationships people do and say things without thinking about the other person, asking them to stop will allow them to know your boundaries in the relationship. Not everyone in a relationship wants to send/receive nude images/videos and that’s ok. Communication is key to building a healthy relationship.
- If you have asked them to stop and their behaviour does not change, you may need to keep the image/ messages and speak to a trusted adult. If it’s someone you are getting to know online, you may want to consider blocking the person and reporting them on the app you are using. For support around dating online and keeping safe visit https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/11_18/lets-talk-about/relationships/online-dating
- Think before you send – if you are feeling the pressure to send nude images/videos ask yourself ‘would I be fine with everyone seeing this?’ Stay true to your values and boundaries. For support around communicating your boundaries in a relationship visit https://www.childline.org.uk/info-advice/your-feelings/feelings-emotions/being-assertive
- A healthy relationship is built up of many characteristics – trust, support, understanding. If someone is putting pressure on you in your relationship to do things that makes you feel uncomfortable, speak to a trusted adult for further support and guidance or visit https://www.childline.org.uk/info-advice/friends-relationships-sex/sex-relationships/healthy-unhealthy-relationships