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What is sexting?

Sexting is sending, forwarding and/or receiving sexually explicit messages or photos by phone, computer or other electronic devices.
Once a sext message is sent it can affect everyone that receives and/or forwards it. One single sext message has a lot of consequences.

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Sexting is like toothpaste…

Imagine if you took a tube of toothpaste and squeezed it all into the sink. Now, picture if someone handed you a spoon and said, “Put all the toothpaste back into the tube.” You can’t!

Like the toothpaste, once you press “Send,” it’s out of your hands. You’ve created a mess and you can’t undo it. There’s no way you can go to every phone, every computer, every device and every server and get that text back.

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Sexting is a new problem…

This technology is still fairly new. In the past, if a person wanted an “instant” photo, they had to take a Polaroid picture and physically give it to someone else. Now, a photo can be shared with millions of people in a matter of seconds.

54%

Sent or received “sexually explicit text messages or images” under age 18

8%

Said they endured humiliation or a tarnished reputation.

26%

Said they forwarded or shared a sext they’d received with a good friend.

Researchers from Drexel University surveyed college students, asking them if they had ever sent or received “sexually explicit text messages or images” when they were under age 18.

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Consequences

Before hitting send, remember that you cannot control where this image may travel. What you send to a boyfriend or girlfriend easily could end up with their friends, and their friends, and their friends.

Emotional Consequences
  • Objectification/possible victimization
  • Loss of friends, bullying
  • Feeling sad, depressed, withdrawn
  • Thinking about or actually hurting self/others
Future Consequences
  • Employment
  • College admission
  • Joining the military
  • Re-living the emotional consequences when old photos/sext messages re-surface
Legal Consequences
  • Federal prosecution under child pornography laws (that includes the picture taker, person in the picture, sender, receiver and anyone who is in possession or has seen the photo)
  • Risk of placement on Sex Offender Registry
  • Jail time
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How to Get Help and Stop Sexting

  • Think about the consequences of taking, sending or forwarding a sexual picture of yourself or someone else underage. You could get kicked off of sports teams, lose educational opportunities and even get in trouble with the law.
  • Never take images of yourself that you wouldn’t want everyone—your classmates, teachers, family—to see.
  • Never forward someone else’s sext message(s). It’s not funny, and could land you in serious trouble.
  • Report any unwanted sexual messages you receive to a trusted adult.
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