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sextingWhat is sexting?

‘Sexting’ is sending nude or semi-nude photos by mobile phone, or posting sexual images on social networking sites like Facebook or Myspace.

Why is sexting not a good idea?

It's impossible to know exactly where a photo of yourself will end up, no matter how much you trust the person you sent it to at the time.

Once something is on the internet, there is no way to get it back. Future boyfriends or girlfriends, employers or even your own children could one day find the images.

Could I get in trouble with the police?

If you're found to have a naked or semi-naked photos of someone under 18 on your phone or your computer, you can actually be charged with a criminal child pornography offence, even if you yourself are under 18.

Also, if you forward a naked or semi-naked photo to someone else you can be charged as well, even if you delete it from your own phone.

You can also be charged even if you send a photo of yourself and you agree to the photo being sent.

Thirty-two Victorian teenagers were charged with child pornography offences in 2007 alone!

What should I do if I'm being pressured into sexting?

If you feel you are being pressured to send sexual images to someone, remember that like any form of sexual behaviour, you have the right to say ‘No’ and let them know that you are serious.

If you have already sent an image or text and you are worried about what might happen now, ask the recipient to delete the message from their phone, inbox or website.

If you have sent an image or text that you feel is now out of your control, talk to a trusted adult or contact a Kids Helpline counsellor to work out what you can do.

What about if someone sends me a sexting message?

  • Do not forward the image to anyone
  • If the text or email is from a friend, tell them you do not want any more texts like that
  • If the messages keep coming, block that sender, un-friend them from your social networking account or block their number on your phone
  • You might need to change your mobile number. If you do, make sure that only friends you trust get your new number

Remember, if you need to talk to someone you can call Kids Helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1800 55 1800, or use our web or email counselling services

More information on sexting is available from our Sexting Hot Topic