What is sexting?

Sexting is the act of taking a sexually explicit image of oneself and passing (transmitting) that image to another person, i.e. partner, it can also be written messages such as a text.  As well as the e-safety risks highlighted below, the law is clear: taking, sharing or possessing an image of a minor (person under the age of 18) is a criminal offence.

This has been an increasing problem over the last few years, with some young people describing the act as ‘normal’ amongst their friends.  However, their perception of normal should not be acceptable whether it is a part of growing up sexually, flirting, or whatever other reason.  It is potentially a high risk category with serious consequences now and in the future.

Update – 15th June 2015

CEOP is a command of the National Crime Agency and have released a brilliant series of 4 short videos to raise awareness with parents, as well as advice on how to talk to your children about this issue.  You can see the full series on YouTube HERE.

What’s the Risk?

Once an image is taken and transmitted you have lost control of the image, it can end up anywhere.  This risk is a significant one because potentially there are other risks involved.  For instance, once somebody realises that an image is out of control it can lead to depression, self-harming or even suicide.  Once other people find out it can lead to peer bullying and harassment, which again leads to other outcomes.

What’s the Advice?

  • If it is your image, or an image of somebody you know, you need to contact the service provider where the image is, for example Facebook.  If you’re not sure what to do talk to your school, for example pastoral care.

  • If it is your image you need support, quickly! Tell somebody you trust like a parent or other trusted adult such as a teacher. If you can’t talk to a trusted adult then call ChildLine on 0800 1111 to speak to somebody in confidence.

  • If you are being blackmailed then it is vital you talk to your parents, report to the police or make a report to CEOP – click HERE.

Experts and Resources

Some great guidance from the NSPCC can be seen HERE and there is also a document from Securus produced by nationally renowned child protection experts HERE

This video from CEOP called Exposed explores some of the issues facing young people.

Megan’s Story is the story of a teenage girl’s experience of sexting.