Chances are, you've probably heard of sexting. This is when you send or receive a message, image, or video that has sexual content like a nude picture.
If you are 13+ years old, this section is for you.
What can happen when you sext?
Sexting might seem fun, but it can have very serious consequences.
Taking, sending, or receiving a nude photo of a person under 18 can be illegal in some states -- even if it's a photo of yourself.
If you or the other person is under 18, you could end up in trouble with the law. This can be considered "child pornography."
When you send a nude photo of yourself to someone, what happens next is out of your control. Even though it is illegal, it can be sent to multiple people or used against you in the future.
For information about sexting laws in America, check out criminaldefenselawyer.com.
You may trust the person you're sexting with right now
However, people can change and unexpected things can happen like:
Someone shares your photo
The phone is stolen or hacked
Family or friends find the photo online
If you send a sext you regret:
Take a deep breath. Things can easily get out of hand, even if you don't want them to.
Here's what you do if you send a text you regret:
Ask the person to delete your message and watch them do it. If it's a photo, make sure it is not saved on their camera roll and that is deleted out of their "deleted photos" folder.
Talk to someone you trust (preferably a parent or counselor at school). Even though it may be difficult to have that conversation, it is necessary for your safety.
If you are receiving unwanted pictures or requests, you can block the person or make a report to your phone carrier.
Here's what to do if your image gets shared:
If you're under 18, report it to the police. This is considered child pornography and is illegal.
If it is shared online, un-tag yourself and report the post. It is also important to report the person who posted it.
If the person who shared the photo is from your school, tell a teacher or counselor.
Talk to an adult you trust (a parent, teacher, or counselor).
IMPORTANT: If you distribute nude or lewd photos of a minor (even if you are also a minor), it is considered distribution of child pornography and/or child exploitation. This is considered a felony in most states.
What if someone sends you a sext?
Don't send the text or picture to anyone else
Tell the person who sent you the message to not send anymore
Delete the message immediately
Block the phone number or account
If the image is online, report the image so it can be removed
If they don't stop messaging you inappropriate things, make a report to your phone company