If you are a teen you know that sexting is quite common. Has someone asked you, at least once, to send naked or partially naked pictures of yourself by text or email? If you are sexting maybe it’s time to stop and think about the possible consequences.
Stop Sexting and think about these 3 things:
1. Is sexting the latest means of bullying?
While sexting is definitely on the increase worldwide many teens feel the pressure of participating even if they don’t feel comfortable exchanging intimate images. Once convinced that sexting a ‘harmless’ picture of yourself is absolutely safe, confidential and “no problem because everybody’s doing it”, you may find that image has been circulated around your school or worse – posted on social media/the internet, exposing you to intense bullying, teasing, name-calling and harassment.
2. Are you breaking the law?
Anybody sending or receiving sexual images of a child or teen is breaking Canadian law.
In an article published by Maclean’s magazine in February 2015, “A new law will give authorities an alternative to laying child porn charges in teen sexting cases. The federal cyberbullying act (Bill C-13) is a response, in part, to the Rehtaeh Parsons and Amanda Todd tragedies. It comes into force on March 9 (2015) and makes it a criminal offence—punishable by up to five years in prison—for adults, as well as children aged 12 and older, to share “intimate images” of anyone without his or her consent.
This means that child porn charges will still be applicable to anyone under 18 who sends or receives sexts of another minor.
3. Sexting a person you meet online can be dangerous.
Child pornographers prey on children and teens who are lonely, insecure, looking for attention or easily manipulated. After all, just because someone says they are a 15-year old boy looking for a girlfriend doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true. Many, many individuals on chat sites are adults trolling the internet for young kids who might be induced to send naked images or sexualized images or even meet in real life. Once involved with a criminal like this many youngsters are too afraid to tell their parents in case they get in trouble.
Talk to someone you trust.
If you are a child or teen who has been asked to send explicit pictures of yourself – don’t do it – it’s just not worth it, no matter what you have been told. Talk to your parents about the pressure of sexting.
If you have already made the mistake of sexting and are being bullied, seek professional help so you and your parents can receive support without judgement.
Call 416-531-0727 if you need professional counselling for this issue.