Sexting

Why people sext, how to practise safer sexting and why sexting can be a problem.

As lots of people have phones with cameras it’s easy to take a sexy picture and to send it to someone else. However only a small number of people actually do this (though loads more talk about it).

Lots of couples like to send each other sexy pics (and always have, even before digital cameras). It’s a way of being sexual and intimate with someone and is good for long distance relationships or where a couple can’t spend time together. Some couples do it to get their partner excited about seeing them again.

Sexting doesn’t have to involve pictures or videos: just words count. This kind of sexting is a great way to talk to each other about what kind of sex and touch you might like. It can help people to share fantasies. It’s also a way of having sex with each other if you can’t be together – by texting each other what you are doing and how you are touching yourself.

Sexting is usually not a problem so long as there was clear consent and the relationship was equal and trusted.

Most people that really want to do this (and haven’t been hassled into it) don’t have any problems at all. This is especially true in relationships where there is trust and clear boundaries about what is and what isn’t ok both in real life and online.

However sending each other sexy images or videos can be cause problems. Particularly if you or your partner are under 18 ….

It’s illegal for under 18s

SEXTING it's illegal for under 18s
It can be quite a serious criminal offence to make a sexy image if someone in the image (or vid) is under 18. Someone taking an image with an under 18 year old in it is basically making child sex abuse images* even if taking a picture of themselves. Having that image on your phone, sending it to others and putting that image on a website are all criminal sexual offences too. (*used to be called child porn)

The Police are not that interested in prosecuting people in a relationship if they both consented to send and receive these pics. But they are much more likely to prosecute people who share images without the consent of both people involved. So the person sending them to their mates can possibly get in big trouble.

If someone has your pic/vid and is using it to bully you or is harassing you or threatening to send it to other people please tell the Police, they will help you and you won’t be in trouble. (Report it via here)

Other people may see

SEXTING other people might see it
Your picture or video may end up getting seen by someone other than the person you sent it to. You might find it hot that your partner is looking at your picture, but what if they show other people, or what if their phone gets nicked, or what if someone steals the images? It’s possible for people to put these images up online.

If you find your images online you can report them to the website. If they are breaking the law they will take them down but it may take some time to do this.

If this happens to you remember it isn’t your fault, it’s the fault of the person who stole your picture or abused your trust.

Safer sexting

There are a lot of reasons why you might want to think again before sending a sexual image. I hope it isn’t too scary but the reality is that there are a lot of people who don’t do the right thing. If you’re still determined to send an image, think about the following.
SEXTING safer sexts if you're gonna do it anyway

  1. Ask before you send an image (asking is hot). If someone says no to sending or receiving an image don’t do it and don’t ask again. No means no, believe them. If they don’t respect your ‘no’ and keep hassling you, do they really respect you?
  2. Are you doing it because you really want to or just for the other person?
  3. Make sure you trust each other not to share it (even if you break up). Also make sure you actually know them in real life. If it’s an internet only relationship please be very careful about sharing anything.
  4. Understand the legal risks (see above). Remember it’s only images that are illegal. Sexy texts are legal.
  5. Don’t go further than you want to, just as with any kind of sex. Set your limits; eg you don’t have to get naked if you don’t want.
  6. To limit the risks, don’t take a picture of anything recognisable (eg your head).
  7. You could keep the image on your phone and show it to your partner in person.
  8. Snapchat (an app where you can take and send pictures which are automatically deleted) might work for you but it is sometimes still possible to copy the image either with a screenshot or by taking a picture with another phone/camera. More on this from Snapchat here.

How to report it

If Sexting has gone bad and you wish that you hadn’t made an image/vid you can get support here

Think U Know which is run by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Police. You can report things there too.

Childline if you’re upset and feel like you can’t talk to anyone you know in real life

And here’s some great tips for parents on how to keep your kids safer online.

If you’ve been sent a picture and you know that the person in the image doesn’t know you’re looking, think about what the right thing to do is. If you report it you won’t get in trouble

Also think about celebrity sex tapes (and read this fantastic piece about it from guest blogger Reni here). Most of the celebrities in these tapes didn’t want their videos to be on the internet and they had to take legal action to have them taken down. Is it cool to watch those even when you know they were taken without the consent of the person in it? Remember that we are all responsible, if we watch them then we are encouraging it.

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Some teaching ideas as well as interesting things for you, the reader, to think about.

Watch this video from CEOP. It is very much worst case scenario. Also, apart from telling advising young people to go to the CEOP website it doesn’t give very much advice apart from ‘don’t do it.’ It’s well made anyway, and this stuff does happen, just not very much. If you want to watch it, think about the questions below.

Who is to blame for what’s happened in the video? The girlfriend? The boyfriend? How can someone be a good friend to her? Is it right that other people are looking and commenting on her pictures? What can the school do? What can parents do? What can the police do? Would it be different if the boy sent a sexy pic to her? Why? How could this have been prevented apart from not sending the picture?

© Justin Hancock, 2015

 


Comments (2)

  • Avatar

    Adrian

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    Great post and lots of good links – thanks for covering this issue. Just wanted to add that young people can also get help and support about sexting and staying safe online from ChildLine http://bit.ly/JiZfgz

    Reply

    • Avatar

      bishtraining

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      Thanks Adrian.

      Reply

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