Sexting is the word used to describe the sharing of personal sexual content electronically. The word is a combination of ‘sex’ and ‘texting’.

Personal sexual content can include lots of things including:

Sexting is usually something that people want to do and is often when someone takes an intimate or sexually explicit image or film of themselves and sends it to another person (for example a boyfriend or girlfriend).

There is a risk that anything we share online (seriously anything) could end up somewhere we don’t like or with someone we would never want to have it. It’s easy to share things online with people who we think we can trust, but sometimes relationships change or just end and that trust isn’t there anymore.
Also some people online aren’t always who they say they are.

Sexting can seem like a bit of fun but it can be really risky and have very serious consequences. It can also be illegal. Anyone under 18 who is sexting is likely to be breaking the law.

It is against the law to:

  • TAKE an indecent image of someone under the age of 18 (which includes someone taking an image of themselves).
  • MAKE an indecent image of someone under 18 (i.e. copy it or save it to another device).
  • SEND an indecent image of someone 18 to another person.
  • ASK someone under 18 to take an indecent image of themselves.
  • HAVE an indecent image of someone under 18.

The law is there to protect young people and it’s not designed to punish them for making genuine mistakes.

Tomorrow can seem a long way off but what we share online today can revisit us in the future. Many employers now carry out online public information searches of job candidates so it’s a good idea to leave them good things to find out about you online.

If you have been sexting and someone is trying to use that to make you do things that you don't want to do, or hurt you, that's not okay and you can report to CEOP. If you feel in danger phone 999 and speak to Devon and Cornwall Police. Remember that this is an emergency telephone number. If you want to speak to the police but it’s not an emergency you can telephone 101. You can also ask an adult you trust to phone the police for you.

Although you might feel scared or embarrassed to make a report, officers from these organisations are specially trained to support children and young people. They won't judge you for making a mistake. They will want to help you.

It might seem like the last thing you want to do, but if you've been sexting and you're worried about it, or if you've done it and someone is trying to use that against you and pressure you into doing other things you really need to tell someone. You could tell an adult you trust at your school but if you can, it's important to tell whoever looks after you at home. They might freak out at first, but that won't last forever.

CEOP have made a great short film called Exposed which you can find on YouTube which looks at why someone might sext, what happens when it goes wrong, and how to get help.

If you’ve been sexting and you’re worried about it or just want more information this is a total must read So you got naked online… from the people at the South West Grid for Learning.

The Childnet website has some great information about sexting. You can also check out the Zipit App which can help you keep flirty chat on the right track!

Revenge Porn

Revenge Porn is when personal explicit media is publicly shared online without the consent of the pictured individual. This could include sharing 'sexting' images of someone in a social network, or posting images or films to websites. It's called revenge porn because sometimes people do it to hurt an ex, but the content can also be hacked and shared by strangers.

The word 'porn' and 'pornography' relates to explicit content featuring people over the age of 18. In the UK sexually explicit content featuring anyone under 18 is illegal. 

The law

People who commit revenge porn in the UK can now face prison sentences under a new measure in the law.

Getting help

Anyone under 18 should contact CEOP. If someone is over 18 they can contact the Revenge Porn Helpline.


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