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