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What you need to know about sexting

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.

Girl posing and winking suggestively as she takes a selfie

To sext or not to sext?

Sexting is generally okay if it's between two consenting adults

Choosing whether or not to sext is totally up to you. It’s NEVER ok for someone to pressure you into sexting.

People express their sexuality in lots of different ways, including sexting. They might choose to sext to:

  • Have fun or flirt
  • Explore their sexuality
  • Build self-confidence
  • Explore their identity
  • Stay connected in a long distance relationship
  • Explore trust and intimacy in a relationship

Sexting might seem like fun but it can also have consequences

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. Your photo could end up anywhere.

You may trust the person you're sexting with right now, but people can change and unexpected things can happen.

Breakup with boyfriend or girlfriend
Photo is sent to others or shared online
Phone or account is stolen or hacked
Family, friends or a future boss might find the photo online

Taking, sending or receiving a sexy image of a person under 18 is illegal in some States.

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

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:

  • Untag yourself from the photo
  • Report the image so it can be removed
  • Report the person who posted it

“No one has the right to pressure you into doing something you don’t feel comfortable doing.”

All about sextortion

Sextortion or ‘sexual extortion’ is when someone threatens to expose your nudes or vids unless you pay them or do sexual favours for them.

If you’re being sextorted:

  • take screenshots (keep the evidence)
  • cut off all contact and block them
  • tell a trustworthy adult
  • report it

Where to report:

Report it to any platforms or services where the blackmailer contacted you. You can also report here: ReportCyber. For more information, visit eSafety.

What if I get a sexy image sent to me that I don’t want?

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 them if they do
Change your mobile number
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.

It’s important to figure out what you feel comfortable with sharing...

As what you share with others could become public.

If you’re worried about an image that’s sent, received or posted online, you can report it to eSafety. You can also find more advice on online dating, sexting and how to collect evidence on their website.

If you’re still unsure about what to do and want to talk more about sexting, give us a call, start a WebChat or send us an email today.

This content was last reviewed 28/04/2023

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