What is “Sexting”?

WATCH this video and learn the DANGERS of Sexting

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Sexting is defined as sharing nude or semi nude pictures of yourself via cell phone or other electronic device (such as a computer or ipod).

The Dangers of Sexting

Think about what you are doing and if you are respecting yourself by sending these pictures. Does the other person that has asked you to send them respect you, or are they just using you? It is normal to have sexual urges as a teen, but you need to make sure that you are respecting yourself and making good choices about your future.

Teen: At least I’m not actually having intercourse, my parents should be happy this is all I am doing!!!!

You need to think about long term consequences. What happens if you and that guy or girl break up? What happens if his or her friends see the cell phone or the pictures of you that were downloaded to their computer? We all like to think that we can trust each other but you never know what someone is capable of when they feel like they have been betrayed or hurt.

Teen: I just sent the pictures to my boyfriend/girlfriend. I know I can trust them! Besides, if I don’t send the pictures, they will break up with me because everyone else is doing it…..right?

If you send a picture to someone that you love and trust, and that picture gets sent to others, are those people that see the picture going to think that you sent the pictures because you loved the person, or because you were “that kind of person”? People WILL judge you based on who you are and what you do on the internet. If anyone ever pressures you into doing something you are not comfortable with (taking nude pictures) you really need to look at that relationship and see if it is a healthy one. Find out if you are in a healthy relationship. You should never ask someone that you care about to do something they don’t want to do. If they try and make you feel guilty or pressure you, that is a sign you need to look at.

dangers of sexting

Internet Safety – What Can Happen To Your Pictures

These pictures can be sent via cell phone to anyone else. These pictures can end up absolutely anywhere without your control and knowledge. Are you ready to see those pictures anywhere? Are you ready for anyone else to see these pictures? They could also try to use those pictures to blackmail into doing other things you don’t want to do. Really think about what you are doing!!

Teen: Ya, but would anybody really do that?

There have been many cases where teens have forwarded naked pictures of someone to their friends. After you send those pictures you can’t control what happens to them anymore. Many teens have said they think it is funny to forward those pictures to their friends. You need to think about what would happen if those pictures got spread around. Are you prepared to see them anywhere on the internet forever? That is what can potentially happen.

Sexting is Illegal

Teen: Ummmm….maybe it’s not a great idea…..

Not only is sending nude pictures of yourself a bad idea, it is against the law!! If you are under the age of 18 it is illegal for you to send nude or semi nude pictures of yourself to anyone, even if you do it willingly. You can be charged with producing child pornography and if you send it to anyone else you can be charged with distribution of child pornography, and be labelled a sex offender. If the person you send it to, in turn sends it to anyone else, they can be charged with the same crimes.

Teen: What? Really?

Yes!!! We have to think about these things. Sometimes we get caught up in the moment and forget to make good choices.
I just want you think about what you are doing. Also remember that everything you do using technology creates a digital footprint that can’t be erased. It’s important to understand internet safety. Everything you do on your cell phones is stored in the memory and even if you delete it, it can still be retrieved. We have to remember that we are accountable no matter what we are doing. Sometimes we think because we are in the privacy of our bedroom, we can do what we want and no one will ever know…..that isn’t true anymore thanks to technology.

Teen: Now what do I do? Those pictures of me are out there? What if someone loads them on the internet, sends them to their friends…..I never thought about that!!….what do I do?…I can’t believe I did that…..

That is why you need to think about what you do before you do it. Once those images are sent from your computer or ipod or cell phone or whatever you lose control over what happens to them. We need to make good choices in the beginning because after you send something, you lose control. It’s important to be aware of proper internet etiquette.

Katie Kitschke, Public Educator
SAFFRON Centre Ltd.