Info and Advice

Sexting

Sexting is when you send or receive a message, photo or video that has sexual content in it. This might be words, pictures, or videos, including nude pictures or videos.
A teenage girl sits holding her phone

Why do people get involved in sexting?

When you have an intimate relationship with another person it can seem fun and exciting to send or receive pictures or messages like this.

However, taking, sending or receiving sexy or naked pictures of yourself or anyone else who is under the age of 18 can create serious problems.

While you might want to send photos or videos like this to your boyfriend or girlfriend, there are some important things you need to know about and think about first.

Points to remember before sexting
  • Don't ever send something you would feel uncomfortable with your parents, carers, siblings or friends seeing
  • After you click send, you lose all control over what happens to that picture
  • Even if you completely trust the person you are sexting now, other people who use their phone might accidentally see your pictures or videos
  • You might be in a positive and trusting relationship now, but that could change and the person might want to use your images in future to hurt, embarrass or even blackmail you
  • No-one has the right to convince you, or to force you, to send naked pictures or videos. This includes someone who you really like. 
If things go too far:

Sometimes, things can go too far and you can end up doing things you hadn't planned on doing, or now regret.

If you have sent pictures or videos and now wish that you hadn't, you can:

  • Try to keep calm
  • Talk to the person you sent the pictures / videos to, explain how you feel and ask them to delete the pictures / videos
  • Tell an adult you trust about what has happened. You might be worried about what they will say, but your parents or guardians are there to support you and to help to keep you safe.
  • If a nude picture of you is posted online and the person who posted it won't remove it, then you have a right to report the image to the site it is on and ask for it to be taken down. You might need the help and support of an adult to do this.
If someone sends you sexual images or videos:
  • If someone you are in a relationship with sends you a message, picture or video with sexual content, don't send it to anyone and delete it off your phone.
  • If someone sends you sexual messages, images or videos that you did not want or ask for, delete them off your phone. You can block the person who sent them from contacting you on social media and talk to your mobile phone network about blocking their phone number from contacting you too. If it keeps happening, you might need to report it to the Gardaí, with the support of an adult you trust.

If you are concerned about sexting, is there an adult you trust who you can talk about it with? Childline is always here to listen to you and support you and we won't judge you. 

Contact Childline

Childline is always here to listen and to support you. You can call Childline on 1800 66 66 66 (24 hours a day), text Childline on 50101 (10am – 4am every day) or chat with Childline online

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