Our top tips!
- Reach out
Speaking to a friend, family member, parent or teacher can be an important step in helping you cope with how you’re feeling. Tell them if you regret sending a nude or have been pressured into sexting. You can also speak to one of our friendly mentors.
Don’t feel ashamed
You’d be surprised to know how many people engage in sexting, and how many of these individuals end up seeking help. Being pressured or threatened into sexting is not your fault and there is nothing to be embarrassed about.
- Block them if they’re making you feel uncomfortable
Blocking a phone number, social media contact and even an email address is very easy. Doing this will mean the person making you uncomfortable won’t be able to contact you anymore.
What is sexting?
Sexting is when you send a sexual message to someone else. This could include sending nude images of yourselves, talking about sexual activities or doing sexual activities on a live stream. It can happen between partners, friends or even strangers online. Sexting can be harmless as long as you’re both over 18 years old, but it can go wrong. Not everyone in a relationship takes part in sexting, so if it makes you uncomfortable, don’t feel like you have to do it.
There is support available if things do go wrong, and it’s important not to feel embarrassed or guilty for having to seek help. Having a nude image of yourself shared or being threatened is not your fault! Sexting should always be consensual for everyone involved. Being pressured into sending a message with sexual content is never okay. Someone may pressure you by:
- Asking you over and over again
- Bribing you with money or gifts
- Making it seem like you owe them something
- Telling you that they will be sad or hurt if you don’t send them a nude, sometimes even threatening suicide or self-harm.
We are ready to start sexting... what do we need to think about?
With social media being so popular now, sexting has become a natural part of many relationships. If you and your partner or friend feel ready to start sexting, there are a few things that you should consider:
- Sexting can be messages or images – Whether it is sexual messages or pictures, make sure that you set your boundaries so that neither one of you goes too far.
- Age – Are you both over 18? If one of you (or both of you) is under 18, then you will be breaking the law by sexting. This is especially true if you share images of each other.
- Privacy – It is really important that you respect each others’ privacy. This is an intimate part of a relationship and you should treat each other with respect.
- Consent – Both individuals should consent to taking part in this. Just because you have consented to something once, this does not mean that your partner can assume that you will consent every time. If either one of the people in the relationship says that they want to stop sexting, you need to stop.
I sent someone a nude and now I regret it... what do I do?
If you’re worried about what might happen, there are things you can do:
- Ask them to delete the message – Remember that images can be saved from any app, including Snapchat.
- Don’t give in to pressure to send more – Ignore any requests or threats that you receive to send more images. This prevents the other person from feeling that they can control your decisions and actions.
- Reach out – Telling someone you trust – such as a parent, friend or teacher – can be scary. However, it is an important step in seeking support and putting an end to any inappropriate conduct.
- Report it – If you’re under 18, you can make a report to CEOP. Asking or threatening someone under 18 for nudes is illegal. If you’re over 18, posting an image online without your consent is also illegal.
Somebody keeps asking me for nude pictures... what should I do?
Ask them to stop
The first thing you should do is tell them that you don’t want to engage in sexting. Tell them if it makes you uncomfortable. Open, honest communication should be enough for someone to stop asking if they respect you.
Use the block function
If asking them to stop sending nudes doesn’t work, you can always block them. Most – if not all – social media platforms contain a block function. Similarly, you can block phone numbers and email addresses from contacting you.
The person asking you for these pictures may not be somebody who you want to block; or, no matter how many times you try to block them, they come back with another account. If people are persistent, don’t give in; try to ignore and avoid them.
If they’re still attempting to contact you, reaching out to CEOP is a good next step. CEOP is a police division that support online cases like this and will be able to help. Although this isn’t confidential, they can help you.
I think I might need some help... what do I do?
Sexting can be a big part of a relationship, and is often the first sign that relationships are developing into a sexual nature. Sexual relationships are a completely natural part of life as you develop.
There are a few things that you need to consider with sexting, and sometimes it can go too far or start to make you feel uncomfortable. If something happens that you are not happy about, reach out and get support.
Speak to us
Sexual relationships can be difficult to navigate at the best of times, and when you introduce sexting, they can become even more complicated. It is OK to feel uncomfortable, and you can reach out to our friendly mentors if you need to talk. There is no need to feel scared or embarrassed.
Speak to an adult
If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable or in a sticky situation, you can always talk to your parents or another trusted adult. Although you might feel nervous about telling them, they will want to support you.
If it goes too far and you feel uncomfortable (such as if somebody asks you to send them pictures when you are under 18) then this should be reported. It is likely that they are doing this to other people too. Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed in seeking help. CEOP deal with situations like this all the time.
Can I ask someone for a nude?
If you’re flirting or in a relationship with someone, it can be tempting to begin sexting or ask for nudes. It’s important to remember that asking for this can make someone feel uncomfortable. Before you ask, think about:
- How old you both are
Remember that it’s illegal to ask someone under 18 to send a nude. If you’re under 18, it’s illegal for you to send a nude to someone else.
- Whether you’ve put pressure on the other person
Making someone feel guilty for not sending a nude is pressure. Remember that sexting should always be consensual and you should respect the other person’s decision. If you pressure them, you cannot get consent.
If you do decide to ask them to start sexting, make sure they understand that you’re not pressuring them into anything, and they have every right to say no. Explain to them that if they don’t want to, you won’t be upset and it won’t affect your relationship. Whatever they say, you should respect their decision. Remember that if they consent to sexting – or anything else – on one occasion, this does not mean that you can assume their consent in the future.