Sexting: What it is and How to Say No
Sexting, the process of sending sexually explicit photographs via mobile phones, is a phenomenon that many UK teenagers have embraced. This is unfortunate as sexting can have serious repercussions including losing control of your photos, becoming involved in bullying and even legal prosecutions. Learning how to effectively say no to sexting will help keep you safe and happy.
Losing Control of Your PhotosOnce you send a photograph of yourself via your mobile (known as a “sext” rather than a text message) you have lost control of that image. You may truly believe that the recipient of your photograph will keep it private but photos can still be viewed by others if :
- Friends or family borrow the phone and see them.
- The phone is left unattended and accessed by others.
- Photos are sent on to other mobile phone users.
- Anyone uploading photos from the phone to a computer or the Internet.
- Photos are posted to social media sites, websites, blogs, photo sharing sites, etc.
- Others take photos from Internet sites and post them elsewhere.
- Photos are printed and distributed in hard copy.
Sexting and BullyingSexually explicit photographs draw many teens into the cycle of bullying. Teens who receive the photos often believe they have “ammunition” against someone in the event of a relationship or friendship breaking up. Teens who send sexts must always live in fear that others have control of something inappropriate about them. All teens must guard against being bullied into taking such photos. Not to mention digital photos can also spread incredibly quickly from phone to phone, and once they are online can be viewed by your friends, relatives, future employers or even college/university representatives. Even if you believe others are doing the same thing, all it takes is for your photos to be given out and you can become the target of great bullying, or your photos can be given out in addition to being bullied for some other reason.
Sexting and Legal ProsecutionsIn the UK it is illegal to produce, own or disseminate/share photos of an explicit nature of anyone under the age of 18. This means that even if both parties involved are teens, and both are interested in and active participants in sexting, both parties could still be held accountable for the photos. While authorities may not always find it a particularly pressing matter to prosecute teens who consensually engage in sexting if photos are used for other matters (bullying, blackmail, child abuse, etc) the likelihood of legal prosecution is much higher.
Saying No to SextingIt may seem like saying no to sexting should be easy, but with peer pressure it can be hard to walk away from something if you believe that everyone else is doing it. If you feel you are not able to say no and leave it at that, consider blaming others for forcing you to turn down such opportunities. Say your parents check your phone or social media accounts, that you’ve seen the situation turn sour for others or that you simply have more respect for yourself than to let others have such control over yourself. Whatever you chose to say, say it with conviction and don’t feel you have to explain yourself to others. Saying no is the right choice.
Sending sexually explicit photos of yourself via mobile phone, a practice known as sexting, has been embraced by teenagers across the UK. Learning more about how you can lose control of these photos, become involved in bullying because of them, be legally prosecuted for them, and more effectively say no to the whole process is important to remaining safe and happy in the future.