Sexting (Sharing/ Sending Nudes)

Responding to and managing sexting incidents

Sexting is the communication between individuals that involves sexual content. This can be through text messages, images or videos. Very often it is between partners, but can be between groups or friends. It can spread across a whole range of devices, technologies and online spaces.

Best practice for parents and carers

Create a welcoming space 

If your child has come to tell you about a sexting incident that they need help with, you are already doing a great job! Creating a space where your child feels comfortable enough to tell you is invaluable. Now that you know you can help you can be there for them when they need it.

Do not overreact

Overreacting or being judgemental can cause a lot more panic and worry. It can also shut the conversation down and exacerbate feelings of shame which doesn’t help them or give you a platform to try and help, this can also prevent them from seeking your support in the future. It is key to understand their worry and realise they need your support.

Gather all the information

If a sexting incident has occurred which has gotten out of control, gather all the information and evidence you can and seek help from your child’s school and/ or local police.

Reporting

If there is content online it can be reported. Find out how to report to some of the leading industry platforms by visiting Report Harmful Content. You can also report it to the Internet Watch Foundation using their Report Remove tool if the person in the image is under 18. If an intimate image has been shared and the person is over 18, then contact the Revenge Porn Helpline for further support. 

How can I teach young people about sexting?

Discuss more than risk

Most young people will be familiar with what sexting is, though we cannot assume all young people sext. Rather than discussing risk,  it might be more impactful to teach children about healthy relationships and boundaries, empowering them to recognise when something is not right.

Encourage them to trust in themselves

Encourage them to trust their gut and know that if someone is asking them to do something they are not comfortable with, stop the communication and seek help from a trusted adult

Teach about consent and coercion

Allow them to learn that consent is fluid and cannot be assumed. Learning that if someone is pressuring or blackmailing them, this is not right and they need to get help. 

Resources

Useful links

Educational resources and services around responding to and managing sexting incidents

Report Remove

Discreetly report an under 18 nude image or video shared online

Responding to and managing sexting incidents

This guidance aims to help schools identify sexting incidents, manage them and escalate appropriately.

Other sexting resources

Find out what other resources are available to manage sexting incidents

Articles

Frequently asked questions on
sexting

Still have questions?

Maybe one of our helplines is the right place for you.

Online issues

Be in the know

You’ll get knowledge, skills and tools to make the internet safer
for young people at your care. Sent once per month.