Cellphone and online safety

Sexting (sex + texting) is the sending or receiving explicit electronic messages, containing nude or semi-nude photos or videos. 

Although the issue involves mostly teens, it could affect anyone and the consequences are real.

When it involves nude images of people under the age of 18, sexting may violate Canadian Child Pornography laws. There can be criminal consequences for those who send, receive or have these photos in their possession, including parents who may not know what is stored on their electronic device.

Charges related to sexting may include:

  • Possession & Distribution, Accessing of Child Pornography (having a picture or video, looking at it on the internet or just simply showing someone).  This is an especially important consideration for anyone who is considering sending photos to other people that they have received.
  • Luring (asking someone to do a sexual act over the computer)
  • Voyeurism (taking a picture or video without someone knowing)
  • Threats (telling someone you’ll distribute their pictures)

Sexting can also lead to cyberbullying and a range of mental health issues including depression and suicide.

Why sext?

51% of teen girls say it was pressure from a guy.*

People may feel comfortable while in their relationships but the reality for most teens and young adults is that most relationships don’t last forever. In many cases where sexts have been sent to a large numbers of people, it was an ex who did the sending.

Think before you post or send anything. There are lots of great ways to communicate with your friends and loved ones but your privacy is important. You should know that even after something has been deleted, it can be retrieved and can have long lasting effects.

Apps like Snapchat, for example, give the user a false impression that content will disappear after a given time but the truth is, there are many ways to retrieve or store this content after it has disappeared. On a phone or computer, with the click of a button, a screenshot can be taken, webcams can be hacked, photos can be saved or shared and computer history can be easily accessed.

Think before you send and don’t let other people convince to you to do something you’re not comfortable with. 

If you or someone you know needs help...

For more information on sexting, visit www.Sexualityandu.ca


*Source of Statistics-Sex and Tech: The National Campaign.