The Legal Side of Sexting
‘Sexting’ (‘sex’ + ‘texting’) means using electronic forms of communication (like mobile phone messages, Facebook, Snapchat, emails, web-cams) to send or receive sexual images.
Sending sexy pics can be fun, but once a picture is sent it’s out there for all to (potentially) see. It doesn’t take long to screenshot a Snapchat and send it on, forward a picture message, or share something on the internet. That’s why it’s important to be aware of a few things first. There could even be legal implications if you’re not careful.
Some people may see sexting as an expression of their sexuality, but you need to be aware of the possible risks of sexting so you can be fully informed.
The legal side of sexting
- If you’re over 18 and you send a nude pic to someone under the age of 16 you could be charged with a serious criminal offence, which could see your name on a sex offender’s register
- If you send a nude pic of someone under 16 (including yourself) you could be charged for the distribution of child pornography
- If you send the nude pic to someone over 18 they could be charged for the possession of child pornography. It’s pretty serious stuff
The social side of sexting
Be aware of who you’re sending it to. If it’s a boy/girlfriend, what will happen if you break up? If it’s a friend, what happens if you have a falling out? Think about the consequences. You never know what your friends are going to do with the images you send them.
It’s an unfortunate reality that ‘revenge porn’ exists and can be extremely damaging to your mental health, future career, and family relationships if discovered.
If you do choose to send sexy pictures to someone you trust there are some things you can do to protect yourself:
- Implied nudity can be just as hot as taking it all off!
- Don’t include your face or other identifying features (tattoos, birthmarks) in a nude photo. This way if the other person does share the photo, nobody will be able to tell it’s you
- Only send intimate photos if you know the other person wants to receive them – consent applies to our digital lives as much as our IRL interactions and nobody wants to be on the receiving end of an unsolicited dick pic
- Don’t drink and sext – after a couple of drinks you’re less inhibited than usual, and you might regret sending that pic when you’re sober
- Delete any photos from your phone that you wouldn’t want to be found if you lost it and it was picked up by a stranger
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