By  eSafety Commissioner     |    Updated: 27th April, 2017    |    3 min read

Sexting is the sending of provocative or sexual photos, messages or videos. They are generally sent using a mobile phone but can also include posting this type of material online.

While sharing suggestive images or text messages may seem like innocent flirting or be considered funny for young people, sexting can have serious social and legal consequences.

What do I need to know?

Stay calm and delete

If you have sent a picture or video you regret to a friend or your girlfriend/boyfriend ask them to delete it immediately. If it is posted online then un-tag yourself and report it so it can be removed. Ask friends you trust to help hunt down images and also delete and/or report those images. If you think it would help you could tell a trusted adult at school and they may be able to send a note to students directing them to delete any private photos or videos they have received without naming you.

Report it

If someone else has posted sexual or naked photos or videos of you online, report them to the service they posted it on. If they are at your school you can report them to a teacher if you choose to. It is not OK for them to share your image without your permission.

Try to relax and talk to someone

If the video or image has already spread online, try to stay calm. You might like to have a free and confidential talk with Kids Helpline. You can phone them on 1800 551 800 for advice and how to handle the situation.

You might also want to tell your parents. It is possible they may find out some other way. They might be upset, angry or in shock, so you might like to ask a trusted friend or relative to help.

What if the police get involved?

The Police sometimes need to become involved in sexting cases where creating and/or distributing sexual images with minors constitutes the production and/or distribution of child pornography. This differs under state laws.

Where the Police are involved, it’s best to be honest. Tell them how the video/image was made and where it might have been sent/posted. They will want to know who was involved and whether there was consent from all involved. Their concern is preventing any harm to you and other young people.

Take care of yourself

Avoid looking at the video/image and any comments. Distract yourself by spending time with friends and family that you trust. Remember to stay positive. Many people have had similar experiences. Stay strong, you will be ok.

 © Commonwealth of Australia 2017. Published by the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner and freely available at: https://esafety.gov.au/esafety-information/esafety-issues/sexting. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives 2.5 Australia Licence

Also check the related topics:  

Staying safe online Boy/girlfriend relationship Sex Cyberbullying Cyberbullying

Factsheet provided by eSafety Commissioner


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