Ask Sam letter


To Sam


im 15, will be 16 soon, and was texting this guy who was a friend of a friend, just being nice. i was sending him pictures of myself in sexual poses but he kept telling me to stop, then one night i asked him to send one of himself naked and he did. are either of us breaking the law?
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your letter. You have been sexting with a guy who is a friend of a friend and you continued even when he told you to stop. This makes me wonder what made you keep sending the pictures. 

The thing to realise about sexting is that once the pictures have been sent you lose control of them. The other person is in control and they can show other people or upload them to social media or porn websites. It is very difficult for you to get it stopped. 

This also applies to the picture you received of the guy. You now have control of it. I have had letters from many young people who have done similar things and regretted it as the images were shared and used without their permission.

You ask if either of you are breaking the law and I am glad to see that this is something that matters to you. I can tell you what the law says, but I am not saying that you will get into trouble as you may not be able to control someone sending these to you. However, you can control of what you do with them.

The situation is that as you are both under 18, you are classed in law as children. As you have ‘nude’ images of each other, you would technically be in possession of what the law calls ‘indecent’ images of each other. It is an offence under the Protection of Children Act 1978 and the Criminal Justice Act 1988 to possess indecent images of a child. 

My advice to you, from here on, is to stop sending these photos of yourself and if you receive photos like this from other people, delete them.

After hearing this, it could be that you would like to find out more information so you might like to check out our page on Sexting. You could also have a look at ChildLine’s Zipit app which offers safe and inoffensive ways to deal with people asking you for nude/sexual pictures of yourself.

You could also talk to a counsellor at ChildLine if you have more questions, or would just like to discuss it some more. You can talk to us by calling on 0800 1111, logging on for a 1-2-1 chat or by email.

Take care for now,

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