In 2018 there was a survey done of more than 3,200 secondary school students in Ireland to find out if they engaged in ‘sexting’.
And, surprising no one, they did.
In fact, the survey found that 45% of 6th-year students sent sexts, and 34% of them sent an image. In contrast, 4 and 5% of first-year secondary school students did so.
This year, there have been calls for young people to take their sexual activity online, to minimise the risk of their spreading, or catching COVID-19. However, given the very recent ‘revenge porn’ leak in Ireland. There are a couple of things to consider if you’re sending nudes.
You really shouldn’t send nudes when you’re under 18
I know that’s a tough one to hear, but the reason is that it’s illegal. And yes, you are legally allowed to have sex with your partner when you’re 17 (and a lot of people are younger), but it’s illegal to send them a nude photo.
If you’re under 18, any explicit image you take is considered child pornography. Yep. That’s the law. This also applies if you’re taking the photo yourself and you’re under 18. That’s according to the ISPCC.
So just bear that in mind; if you’re under 18 and you take a nude photo of yourself, then you are – in the eyes of the law – producing child pornography.
Not everyone respects your privacy
This is a horrible and traumatic truth but, unfortunately, that’s how the world is. And if we’ve learnt anything from recent events, it’s that people break trust all the time. And in this case particular case, it meant that hundreds of women and girls have had their nude photos shared without their consent.
Some of the images were sent to partners, others were shared on a subscription-based platform. Neither type of image was intended for people other than the recipient, or purchaser to see.
That means that, unfortunately, you cannot necessarily trust people to respect your privacy. Which leads onto the next point…
Have a conversation with your partner
Make sure they know you do not want them to show the photo to the lads in school or share it online. If you’re under 18, then it’s child pornography. Even if your partner is too. Of course, you should be able to trust your partner, but sometimes people get caught up in the moment and think it might be a bit of a laugh to show the lads, or whatever. But it’s not.
You could ask them how they would feel if you shared their photo with someone else? What if you had a giggle with the girls over the photo they sent you at the weekend or the other night? If you ask them this way, it might help them understand why you don’t want your image shared.
Think about why you’re taking the photo
Honestly think about why you’re sending the photo to your partner. Are they nagging you for one? Are they putting you under pressure to give them a photo? Or are you sending one because you’re really just feeling yourself at the moment and loving how you look? If it’s the first two, do not send them.
This is called coercion and is a very toxic relationship to be in. You should not feel pressured by your partner to do anything: send nudes, have sex, not talk to certain people, behave a certain way. This is all dangerous behaviour and not healthy. You can read a bit more about this behaviour here.
Sexting doesn’t always involve photos
The idea of “sending nudes” has become quite common in todays dating terminology, but there is more to sexting than just sending pictures.
Sexting can also involve sending explicated messages. Although this can be safer to do as it doesn’t involve imagery or videos, it’s still an intimate thing to be engaged in. You should still have the expectation of privacy and the right to say no if you’re not into it.
How To Sext Safely
If you are going to take nude photos and send them, then there a couple of things you can do to minimise your risk of being identified if someone shares them.
- Don’t put your face in them. Work those angles; don’t do anything that shows you looking at the camera or that can easily be spotted as you.
- Make sure there’s no photos in the background. If you have some photos of you and your friends on your wall, take them down, or use a different part of your room.
- Be selective with your sending. If possible, send them using an app that shows you if someone has taken a screenshot. At least then you’ll know.
Overall, be safe. Try to think about whether or not it’s very obviously you.
When it comes to sexting safety, trust is so important. If you trust your partner, just make sure they know what your boundaries are and that you expect them to respect you, your trust, and your body.