Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photos electronically, primarily between mobile phones, but can include internet applications such as MSN, email, or social networking sites.
Once photos are sent, there is no way to get them back, and once in cyberspace, they become a permanent part of a person’s digital footprint. This means that they can forever be linked to that person and without a doubt will resurface when least expected, such as a job interview. Whilst the immediate fallout is usually amongst the person’s peer group, school and local community where they can then be used to cyberbully and harass the victim. These images will then most likely fall into the hands or onto the computers of those with the predilection to sexually offend against children and young people. They will also be shared around a local school, community or wider which is very embarrassing and which can lead to further cyberbullying.
It is a criminal offence to take, possess or transmit (share via technology) a naked image of a young person. It doesn’t matter how you came to possess the image, or if you willingly took the photo yourself and sent it on.
It is still an offence. Remember, no-one can give you permission to break the law and you cannot give anyone else permission either.
What many young people and their parents often don’t know is that sexting can
have serious consequences and lead to bullying, public humiliation and even sexual assault. In most cases involving people under the age of 18 year it is illegal.