To Sext or Not To Sext?
What is sexting?
Sexting means to send sexy messages or images using your phone, computer or camera. Some people think that sexting is harmless, however, once a sext is out on the internet, it will always be there. Once you click the SEND button, you have no control over where that message is going to end up. Someone can end up sending around the message to friends, family, coworkers and peers out of spite or just because. This is a violation of someone’s privacy and it is NOT ok. If the pictures shared are from individuals under 18 years of age, some many even be arrested for child pornography.
What should I do if someone asks me to send a sext?
You have the right to say NO to someone asking you for a sext. If you DO want to share a sext with someone, ask yourself these questions… is it legal? Is it what you really want? Will is get shared with others? Have a conversation with your partner about privacy and trust. If someone is pressuring you to send them something then they are not respecting you or your boundaries.
Unfortunately there is no way of keeping your pictures private.
What should I do if someone sends me a sext?
Do not send or show anyone else the message, make sure it ends with you. Delete the picture or message so you know it will not continue to get around. Talk to the individual about the risks of sexting and let them know it is not OK. Tell them you deleted the picture. Talk to a trusted adult or friend if you believe someone is being bullied or harassed.
Sexting with Disabilities
According to a study published by Netsafe (2018), teens, ages 14 to 17, with disabilities are more likely to be subjected to sexting. Like every other teenager out there, teens are at the age where they are discovering themselves and exploring sexually. In the Netsafe study, it was shown 25% of teens with a disability had received nude images compared to 17% without disabilities. Additionally, within a one year span, 23% of teens with a disability reported having been asked for nude images or videos of themselves, compared to 18% of those without disabilities.
It is also at this age where a lot of risky behavior takes place. As teens are starting dating relationships, or are just looking for a connection with another, they may take risks to build that relationship foundation, including, sending nude images or videos. Just like teens without disabilities, teens with disabilities are doing similar things—starting dating relationships, exploring sexually, and trying to form those intimate connections. Regardless of if someone has a disability or not, sexting is happening in our culture today and it is important to be aware of it, how we can handle it as well as the consequences.