Sending nudes and sexting

Social distancing and isolation can be hard on all relationships. This applies for young love too. While your child might think that sending nudes and sexting is a way to flirt or be intimate while at home, particularly if they’re in a relationship, it is important to talk about the possible consequences of sending or sharing nude images.

These risks include

  • Losing control of the image and having their intimate images shared beyond the intended audience, even in trusted relationships.
  • Peer pressure and disrespect if by being forced or pressured into sending explicit images or videos.
  • Psychological and emotional harms, including humiliation, bullying, teasing, harassment or damage to their reputation.
  • Criminal charges or penalties for some cases — in particular, the sharing of non-consensual intimate images.

How can I minimise the risks to my child?

  • Talk to your child about how to stay connected with friends and loved ones in safe and age-appropriate ways.
  • Talk about the risks — what can go wrong and the legal issues. Remind your child that once an image is shared, it is almost impossible to get it back or to control how it is further distributed.
  • Promote self-confidence and that it is OK to  say ‘no’ — let them know that they don’t have to give in to peer pressure to send intimate images or messages just because others do, or because their boyfriend or girlfriend has asked them to.
  • Teach your child about consent and respectful relationships — help them understand the impact of sharing someone else’s intimate images or messages and that sharing without consent means they are breaking that person’s trust.

What can I do if my child’s intimate image is shared online?

  • Stay calm and open — reassure them that you will work through this together.
  • Listen, and act fast — there can be legal issues when intimate images of children are shared. Work quickly to remove the content online by reporting the image to the site or service it was posted on. There may be a hotline or service in your country to support you to remove images.
  • Get help and support — look after your child’s wellbeing and encourage them to speak with an online or telephone counselling and support service.