Sexting and sending nudes

Sending a nude can be risky. If you’ve been sexting and something’s gone wrong, we’ve got advice to help.

What is sexting?

Sexting is when you send a sexual message, photo or video to someone else. It could be a picture of you, but sometimes people send pictures and videos of other people.

Messages could be to a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend or someone online.

Sexting includes:

  • being partly or completely naked, or in your underwear
  • posing in a sexual position
  • sending ‘nudes’ or ‘dick pics’
  • talking about sexual things you’re doing or want to do
  • doing sexual things on a live stream

5 facts about sexting

  1. Images sent on sites like Snapchat can still be saved and screenshotted.
  2. It’s not okay for someone to pressure you into sending a nude.
  3. Sending or receiving a nude when you’re under 18 is against the law.
  4. Not everyone in a relationship will share nudes.
  5. If something goes wrong, there’s support to help.

What to do if you’ve shared a nude

If you’ve sent a nude and you’re worried about what might happen, there are things you can do:

  • Ask for the message to be deleted
    Explain that you’re not comfortable with them keeping the picture and ask them to delete it.
  • Don’t reply to threats
    Don’t reply to someone trying to threaten or blackmail you, and don’t send more photos. It can be scary, but it can help you to keep in control
  • Report what’s happened
    If you’re under 18 and you’re worried or being threatened you can make a report to CEOP. Making a report isn’t confidential but it does mean that they can help to stop what’s happening.
  • Get help with how you’re feeling
    Having a nude shared by other people or being threatened isn’t your fault. If you’re struggling to cope or you don’t know what to do, talk to us.

how to get help

Coping with pressure to send nudes

Sexting should always be consensual. That means it’s not okay for someone to pressure you to send a nude.

Feeling pressured can include:

  • feeling like you owe someone something
  • worrying that they won’t like you as much if you don’t
  • being asked over and over again
  • not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings
  • worrying about getting into trouble or being hurt if you don’t
  • being offered money or a gift
  • anything else that makes you feel like you have to send a nude.

If someone won’t stop messaging you or asking you for nudes, blocking and reporting them can help to keep you and other young people safe.

Is sexting legal?

Block and report bullying or sexting

Lots of social media sites can help you if you're being bullied or if people are bullying you online.

Here’s how to report sexting or bullying on:

After you’ve made a report

Not all sites will take content down straight away, and sometimes they might not take something down when you’ve made a report.

Remember that you can keep making reports if you are concerned about something, but it can also help to talk to an adult you trust.

Even when you’ve reported something it can still have an effect on you. No matter what’s happening you can talk to Childline or get support from other young people on our message boards.

Can I ask someone for a nude?

It might be tempting to ask for a nude when you’re flirting or in a relationship. But it can also make someone feel uncomfortable or scared.

If you want to ask for a nude, think about:

  • How the other person will feel
    Being asked for a nude, especially when you don’t want to, can make a lot of people feel uncomfortable.
  • How old you both are
    It’s against the law to ask someone who’s under 18 to send a nude, even if you’re under 18 as well.
  • Whether it will put pressure on the other person
    Making someone feel bad for not sending a nude, even if you don’t mean to, is a type of pressure. If you’re not sure if someone would feel pressured, don’t ask.
  • How you would feel in their position
    It can help to think about how you would feel if someone asked you to do something you weren’t comfortable with or put pressure on you.
  • What might happen if you do
    Making someone feel uncomfortable or upset by asking for a nude can have a big effect on your relationship with them.

Even if someone sends you a nude or sexual message, it’s not okay to share it without their permission.