Sexting/Online Relationships Questions
"Is it illegal to send a 'Dick Pic'?"
'Sexting' is another term for ‘indecent’ images which people have taken of themselves and sent to someone else or posted online. It’s against the law to have naked pictures or videos of someone under 18, that includes taking the photo, sending it on, or keeping any naked images you’ve been sent.
The law is like this to protect young people from adults who sexually abuse them and take photos or videos of the abuse. But even if it’s a picture which your boyfriend or girlfriend has taken, it is against the law, and you definitely shouldn’t share naked or indecent pictures of anyone without their consent.
Although you probably wouldn’t get in trouble with the police, you could cause your boyfriend or girlfriend serious distress and get yourself in serious trouble at school. Remember, if you threaten or pressure anyone to share naked pictures with you then you could get in trouble with the police.
You should delete any pictures you have on your mobile or computer and ask anyone you’ve shared these pictures with to do the same.
This is potentially a risky thing to do because once those pictures have been sent or uploaded, there’s no control over who gets to see them. Legally, it is an offence to send naked pictures of yourself if you are under 18, these would be classed as ‘indecent’ images. If it was something you were doing between you and another young person (like your boyfriend/girlfriend) then it would be unlikely but not impossible that you’d get in trouble with the police for that.
If you were to send pictures of yourself to an adult, and that adult was caught with those images then they would get into a lot of trouble themselves – and really that would be their fault because just as they know it’s illegal to have sex with someone under-age, they would also know it’s wrong to keep inappropriate photos.
There’s no legal definition of ‘indecent’ but basically if it’s naked, a topless girl, contains genitals or sex acts, including masturbation, then it will be indecent.
As a general rule if you wouldn’t show it to your parents or your gran, you probably shouldn’t share it online!
Follow the links below for more info:
"Are online relationships okay?"
It’s important to remember that people you meet online are still strangers, even if you have been talking to them for a long time or they are friends of your friends. You may feel that this makes them ‘safe’. However, it’s easy for somebody to come across differently in an online environment, so it’s difficult to know their intentions.
You also shouldn’t use dating sites set up for under 18s. Some of these may not even be genuine websites, as dating websites are used to ‘phish’ for personal information.
Did you know that there are 83,000,000 fake accounts on Facebook? So how many fake accounts do you think there are on other social networking sites like Tumblr, Whatsapp or Twitter?
So if you haven’t met someone in real life, how can you be sure who you’re chatting to?
So, just keep it in mind that people can easily lie about who they are online. Some people may try to build relationships online with the intention of taking advantage of someone in real-life and you need to be smart when it comes to inter-acting with people that you don’t know online.
Click here for some really useful information about online dating and what the potential risks are that you need to be aware of.
Need someone to talk to?
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ABC - Anti-bullying in Cornwall
Childline - a free 24 hour counselling service for children and young people
Samaritans - 24 hour confidential emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress, despair or suicidal thoughts
Brook - free and confidential sexual health advice and contraception to young people
Kooth - free online support for young people
Think you know - internet safety and safe surfing for young people
Talk to Frank - friendly, confidential drugs advice