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Sexting is when you send someone or receive a sexually explicit text message, image or video on your mobile phone.

Many young people think that sexting is okay and a normal part of a healthy relationship - or will be convinced by their friends that it is. You may not even stop and think before you send a sext - but it's important to understand the risks and what could go wrong, even if you don't think that anything will.

Around one in five people who have received a sext have passed it on to someone else or posted it on the internet. That can have devastating results, both for the person who posted or shared the image and also the victim.

The impact of sexting


Your photo could go anywhere - Once you press 'send' then things are out of your hands. The photo which you think you've shared with just one person could be viewed by their friends, end up on social networking sites, posted anywhere on the internet or even on porn sites and in the hands of online paedophiles.

Anyone could see it - You may trust the person you've sexted but other people using their phone could end up accidentally seeing it. So, don't send anything that you wouldn't want your friends, parents or teachers to see.

The dangers of screenshots - You may think that you've been careful by using a webcam or an app like Snapchat, but the person viewing it can take a screenshot in seconds.

People may not want your photo - Stop and think for a minute: the are loads of other ways of impressing people than sending them a sext. In most cases it cna have the opposite effect and you could end up being seen as someone that you're not.

Not only can sexting have emotional consequences and ruin relationships, but the police could end up involved if you're under the age of consent

If your photo is shared you could end up embarrassed and humiliated.

You could end up being the victim of bullying or cyberbullying

Sexting often leads to friendships breaking down, leaving young people feeling helpless and isolated.

Creating and sharing explicit images of a child is illegal - so even if you're under 18 you are still breaking the law and the police could end up taking action against you.

Remember: once you press 'send' then things are out of your hands