What is sexting?
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 humuliation. In certain cases, legal action may even be taken.