What is sexting?

Boy looking down at phone

Sexting is the act of exchanging messages, images or videos of a sexual nature through digital communications platforms such as text message, social media or mobile apps. It refers explicitly to self-generated content. 

Why do young people sext? 

Young people may engage in sexting for a number of reasons, most commonly because they:

  • think it is normal, as "everyone else is doing it"
  • are in a relationship with the receiver
  • are asked by another to do so, and feel pressurised to please
  • think it is a private exchange between them and the receiver
  • are trying to impress or be perceived as desirable
  • are blackmailed or harassed into it

What are the consequences?

Sexting is rarely a private, harmless act. Once it has been sent, the sender no longer has any control of where it ends up. If a message is shared, it opens young people up to many forms of abuse or exploitation such as bullying, blackmail and/or public humiliation. In certain cases, legal action may even be taken.

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