Young people can share them across any app, site or game, including during a livestream. Many young people also share them on social media channels.
Sexting might seem like a harmless way to flirt or show your boyfriend or girlfriend how much you like them, but although you may trust the person you’ve sent it to right now, people can change and relationships can break-up. Once you click send, there’s no way to get your pictures and messages back. It’s quite possible your ex or friend will delete them after the relationship ends or you have a fight, but what if they don’t?
Whether you send or share the photos, sexting can cause serious problems. The photos might get sent around or posted online, where people like your family, teachers and friends could see them. They could even be uploaded to a website where strangers can view them. Sharing these pictures or messages without permission is a serious violation of privacy and if the pictures you send or share are of someone under 18yrs (even if they’re of you), you could even be arrested for child pornography, which is a serious crime.
Other risks include:
Is Sexting Illegal?
This depends on what the image is or what the chat involves and who it is sent between. However, it is a crime to possess, take, make, distribute or show anyone an indecent or abuse image of a child or young person under 18 years of age. Always remember that, while the age of consent is 16, the relevant age in relation to indecent images is 18.
What if a child (under 18 years of age) takes a sexually explicit image of themselves?
If you’re under 18 it is against the law to make and possess a sexually explicit image (naked or semi naked) or video of yourself. You are committing a further offence if you then share that image or video with another person and the person who receives the image or video will also be liable for an offence of possessing the image.
It is also against the law for anyone to save or share that image or video of you. Even if it’s a selfie or they’re under 18 too. It is also against the law to save or share a nude or sexual video of anyone else who is under 18 if one is sent to you.
There are a number of reasons why young people may want to send sexual messages, images or videos to another person.
Sexting should always be consensual so it’s never okay for someone to pressure you into sending a ‘nude’.
Part of being in a healthy relationship is being able to say what you think without feeling worried or scared.
Feeling pressured can include:
If someone keeps pressuring you to share a nude, blocking and reporting them will help keep you (and others) safe. Take a look at our App Information Sheets if you’re not sure how to do this.
If you’ve sent a sext to someone and you’re worried about what might happen, take a deep breath, we understand things can get out of hand, even when you didn’t mean them to.
There are things you can do:
Sharing nudes, videos or sexual messages with someone who doesn’t consent to receive them is not okay and can be against the law.
If you’ve shared a picture, video or message with someone who doesn’t want to see it,