Lets Talk About Sexting

Lets Talk About Sexting

Tash Bright No Comment

Today, Sheffield Futures launches our new campaign, ‘Let’s Talk About Sexting’, to address the issues young people face regarding sexting and how we can prevent the often devastating consequences. Each week Sheffield Futures will be focusing on a specific issue surrounding sexting beginning with the legalities concerning sexting, so that you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Sharing photos and videos online is part of daily life. The availability and convenience of apps such as Snapchat, Whatsapp, Facebook, Instgram and Skype means that we are always increasing our digital footprint, which is notoriously hard to erase.

Currently 90% of 16-24 year olds and 69% of 12-15 year olds own a smartphone meaning more people than ever have the ability to quickly and easily record their lives and share experiences. With this is mind, it is important that you know the ins and outs of the laws surrounding sexting.

What is Sexting?

Sexting is defined as sending or posting sexually suggestive texts/images. People may have told you that sending ‘indecent’ imagery under the age of 18 is illegal. This created confusion because whether something is ‘decent’ can be dependent on the situation and may be different depending on the values of who you are speaking to. For this reason, the word ‘indecent’ has been replaced with ‘sexual’.

1.1 what is sexting

At What Age is Sexting Illegal?

Even though the age of sexual consent is 16, it is illegal to produce, store or share sexual imagery of anyone under the age of 18.consent 16

What if I have taken a Sexual Image of Myself?

Whether you are the person in the picture or not does not make a difference when it comes to the law. Anyone under the age of 18 who takes a sexual selfie risks being prosecuted for creating child pornography.


What if I am under 18 but am in a relationship and sent a picture to my boyfriend/girlfriend?

In this case, both you and your partner are breaking the law, even if your partner didn’t ask for the picture. Possessing images of a young person under the age of 18 is illegal, even when both of you are under 18.

1.3youre in the pic

I received a sexual image of someone under the age of 18. Can I share it with friends?

Even if you had nothing to do with the creation of the image, sharing such imagery is still breaking the law. Depending on the intent and malice in which the images were shared, will depend on the severity of the consequences.

Will I get a criminal record if I am found to be making, possessing or distributing imagery of anyone under 18?

The law criminalising indecent images of children was created to protect young people from adults and sexual abuse. It was not intended to criminalise children. None the less, where police have been notified, the incident will be listed as a ‘crime’ and the young person involved will be a ‘suspect’. Outcome 21 was created specifically for such cases and helps to formalise the discretion available to police when handling crimes such as youth produced content.



Next week we will be focusing on why young people send sexual imagery.


If you are a young person who has been affected by sexting or are a parent or carer of a young person involved in sexting, you can contact the below helplines:

Childline – 0800 11 11 or in an online chat athttp://www.childline.org.uk/Talk/Chat/Pages/OnlineChat.aspx

If parents and carers are concerned about their child, they can contact the NSPCC Helpline by ringing 0808 800 5000, by emailing [email protected], or by texting 88858. They can also ring the Online Safety Helpline by ringing 0808 800 5002.

The NSPCC has information and advice about sexting available on its website: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/sexting/1

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How you can help

Our charity is dedicated to helping Sheffield's young people to reach their full potential and achieve the best out of life, whatever their starting point. To help us to do more to support young people and communities we need your help. Just remember, every penny you donate will make a difference.