Topic

Sexting & Nudes

Given the intersection of device access and puberty that exists for kids today, sending naked photos, sharing photos of others, and being asked for nude photos is increasingly common among kids. And kids don’t view it as fundamentally bad. Participating in this behavior can be the result of exploration and natural curiosity, or a result of pressure and exploitation. While this behavior poses a variety of dangers, we’ve found that very often the point of most harm occurs when content is reshared without consent. The prevalence of the issue means it’s key that you begin a dialogue with your child about it while they are open to learning from you.

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Tasks

What you can do now

1

Talk about the risks of sending, asking for, and resharing nudes.

It is important that kids know that it is illegal to share naked photos of people under the age of 18, even if they are of themselves. However, leading with this can set a very serious tone that could isolate them, causing feelings of fear or shame if they do end up participating in this behavior in the future. Instead, start small and build towards the tough stuff. Talk to your child without judgment through conversations centered around trust, consent, what to do if someone asks for a photo of them, and the risks of sending naked photos and passing around images of other people.

2

Discuss their role as a friend, ally, and bystander.

Have a discussion with your kids about what it means to share or forward nude photos of a classmate, a peer, or someone online. Keep your kids, and others, safe by encouraging them not to participate in this behavior, and to call it out or tell a trusted adult when they see it. Consent is a great place to start this conversation — it’s not up to them to decide who should see someone else’s body.

3

Dig into discussion guides.

We’ve heard from kids that they are being solicited online to send nudes as young as age 9, so it’s important to start having conversations around this topic as they become more curious, both online and offline. Build upon earlier skills like digital safety, making friends online, and digital privacy. Be mindful of how these experiences make you feel and take a couple deep breaths before initiating these tricky conversations. Then, focus on taking a calm, non-judgmental approach and start small.

Did you know that it is important to ask someone for permission before sharing photos or information about them?

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4

Create a safe space for continued dialogue.

Having these conversations early on, while your kid is open to learning from you, can help them better understand the situation and know you’ll be there unconditionally. Even if you think they know you’ll support them, having these conversations can make a big difference in them sharing their experiences with you if something goes wrong.

Additional Resources

From simple tips to complex explorations, we’ve gathered a range of information, videos, and articles designed to help you keep exploring these topics.

Video

Consent for Kids

Source: Blue Seat Studios

Consent is like being ruler of your own country...population: YOU. This is a smart, playful video guide to consent and bodily autonomy.

Article

Tips and Tricks to Keep Yourself Safe From Online Creepers

Source: Love146

We know that the internet isn't a scary place. But it’s important to remember that interacting with people online can get complicated. Here are some helpful tips.

Read article

Article

Stop Sextortion: Tips for Caregivers

Source: Thorn

Sextortion: the threat to reveal intimate images to get someone to do something. Get tips & resources for caregivers to stop sextortion before it starts.

Read article

Article

Sexting & Sextortion

Source: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

As children grow and develop, they become more interested in relationships and sex. One way they do this is through sexting.

Read article

Article

Help! My Teen Is Sexting

Source: Family Online Safety Institute

Don’t panic. We’ve read about the statistics of young people sharing explicit images of themselves online, but what parents need to understand is – right or wrong, sexting is considered a new normal for kids and teens today.

Read article

Article

Consent (for Kids!): Boundaries, Respect, and Being in Charge of YOU

Source: Rachel Brian

A book focused on boundaries and how to set them; signs of healthy (and unhealthy) relationships; ways to respect themselves and others; what to do if someone makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe; and much more.

Read article

Video

Into the Cloud: The Picture

Source: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

NetSmartz is an interactive, educational program that provides age-appropriate resources to help teach children how to be safer on- and offline.

Article

Personal Safety: Sexting

Video and supporting materials features a scenario of sending nude photos via text, or sexting. It covers the potential consequences and emphasizes that while feeling attracted to someone is totally normal, there are more respectful ways to show someone you like them.

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Article

“Your Photo Fate” Discussion Guide

Source: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

This guide will assist trusted adults in opening the door for age-appropriate and respectful conversations, specifically about the topic of sexting.

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Article

Sending nudes and sexting

Source: eSafety Commissioner

It is important to talk with your children about the possible consequences of sending or sharing intimate or sexually explicit messages, images, photos or videos. And there are ways you can help if things go wrong.

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Article

Someone is threatening to share my nudes

Source: eSafety Commissioner

Tips and resources if someone threatening to share a nude image or video.

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Video

Stop Sextortion Video

Source: Thorn

Thorn’s Stop Sextortion PSA seeks to increase awareness about sextortion, destigmatize the issue, and encourage individuals to reach out for help and support their friends.

Article

Don’t Get Sextorted

Source: Canadian Centre for Child Protection

Find important information about sextortion, downloadable naked mole rat gifs, memes, photos, swag and more.

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Article

All About Sexting

Source: Planned Parenthood

Sexting — or using your phone to send sexual pictures, videos, or texts — may seem like no big deal. Before you hit send though, consider the consequences.

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Article

Sexting basics: How to stay safe

Source: Kids Help Phone

Tips and resources to talk about the risks of sexting and what to do if a sext is shared or you see one being shared.

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