What is Sexting?Sexting is the sending of provocative or sexual photos, messages, or videos, generally using a mobile phone. It can also include posting this type of material online.
What are the risks?
While sharing suggestive images or text messages may seem like innocent flirting or be funny for young people, sexting can have serious social and legal consequences.
Students may be committing a criminal offence when taking and/or sharing sexual images of themselves or peers who are minors. Creating and/or distributing sexual images with minors may constitute the production and/or distribution of child pornography. This can be the case even if the people in the image are willing participants, with outcomes varying by State and territory and on a case by case basis.
Students may also encounter social consequences. Images can easily escape their control through being shared more broadly than they had anticipated. This can have a long-term impact on their digital reputation. Images can also potentially be used for cyberbullying or cyberstalking, or they may attract unwanted attention from others.
Managing the risks
To help protect their image both online and offline, young people need to consider how they manage their own and others’ messages and images.
If you suspect or are made aware that such activity is happening in your school, you should contact the local police or your education authority for more advice.
Be very cautious if you have intercepted any content which may constitute child pornography, and do not interact with the information, forward or share it in any way, including to school authorities. Immediately seek guidance from local police.