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If you own a smartphone you’ve probably heard of sexting. It’s when you send or receive a message or image that has sexual content like a nude picture, sexy words or a video.

Male and female taking selfie

What can happen when you sext?

Sexting might seem fun but it can have serious consequences.

  • Taking, sending or receiving a sexy image of a person under 18 can be illegal in some States – even if it’s of yourself!
  • If you or the other person is under 18 you could end up in trouble with the law as it can be considered ‘image based abuse’
  • When you send a nude photo of yourself to someone, what happens to it and where it goes next is often out of your control...

For information about sexting laws, check out Youth Law Australia.

You may trust the person you're sexting with right now

But people can change and unexpected things can happen, like:

A breakup
Someone shares your photo
The phone is stolen or hacked
Family or friends find the photo online

“It's not ok for somebody to pressure you into sexting. Talk to Kids Helpline and they'll help you figure out what to do."

What to do after you send a sext you regret

Take a deep breath. We understand how easily things can get out of hand, even when you didn’t mean them to.

Here’s what you can do if you send a sext you regret:

  • Ask the person to delete your message and watch them do it

  • Talk to someone you trust like a friend, parent, counsellor or teacher Make a report to your mobile phone company if you’re receiving unwanted pictures or requests

Here’s what to do if your image gets shared online:

  • If you’re under 18 report it to eSafety or the police

  • Tell a teacher if the person who shared/posted it is from your school

  • Untag yourself from the photo

  • Report the image so it can be removed

  • Report the person who posted it

  • Talk to someone you trust like a friend, parent, counsellor or teacher

What if I get a sexy image sent to me?

Don’t forward it to anyone
Delete the message
Report the image (if it’s online) so it can be removed
Tell the person not to send anymore
Block their number/account
Make a report to your mobile phone company if they don’t stop

Report Image Based Abuse

You're not alone when it comes to dealing with sexting! You can make a complaint to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner.

While sexting can be exciting it has its risks too

It’s important to figure out what you feel comfortable with sharing, because what you share with others could become public.

If you’re worried about an image that’s sent, received or posted online, you can always visit the eSafety website to find out more about what you can do.

If you’re still unsure about what to do and need to talk to someone about it, give us a call, start a WebChat or send us an email and we’ll help you figure it out.

This content was last reviewed 19/12/2018
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