Don’t forward it to anyone
Why do people sext?
People express their sexuality in lots of different ways, and sexting is one of those ways. They might sext because they want to:
Explore their sexuality
Explore trust and intimacy in a relationship
Explore their identity
Stay connected in a long-distance relationship
To have fun, because it feels pleasurable (or nice), and to flirt with someone you like
What are some of the dangers/risks associated with sexting?
Sexting can be difficult – and even impossible – to take back or undo.
People can and have experienced bullying, harassment and other mistreatment after sending a sext.
Sexting can feel right at the time – and some people have only positive experiences and emotions around sexting. Some people might find they feel guilty, ashamed, or regret after sexting.
Getting in trouble
For some people, there is a risk of getting in trouble (e.g. with parents or caregivers) if they sext.
Keeping your sexts private
- Sexting on apps that are end-to-end encrypted to ensure that they can only be viewed by you and the person you're sending them to
- Using apps that use have message expiration times so that you can set them to delete after you're finished (just FYI, this doesn’t protect you from people screenshotting the sext before it vanishes)
- Not sexting on apps that link to your personal information
- Turning off automatic cloud backup of your photos and videos
- Not using photos of your face, or including recognisable parts of your body or things in the background
- Using a VPN
- Double checking who you are sending the sext to before hitting send
- Watermarking the image
Remember that none of these strategies is a guaranteed way to keep sexts privates or stay safe online.
Even though it’s against the law, what you share with others could still become public
You may trust the person you're sexting with right now, but people can change, and unexpected things can happen.
Remember - breakups can get toxic, nudes might be sent to others or shared online, and your phone or account (or the phone/accounts you sext with) could be stolen or hacked.
If someone shares your sexts without your consent, remember that it is not your fault! Sharing someone's sexts in this way is a form of image-based abuse.
What if I receive a sexual image or message that I don’t want?
Delete the message
Report the image (if it’s online) so it can be removed
Tell the person not to send any more & block them if they do
Change your mobile number
Make a report to your mobile phone company if they don’t stop
What to do after you send a sext you regret
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:
- Un-tag yourself from the photo
- Report the image so it can be removed
- Report the person who posted it
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