Sexting is the term used to describe the exchange of nude images or a sexually suggestive text message on cell phones.
Why do people use their phones for sexting? There are several reasons why people decide to take part in sexting:
- Some see sexting as a “first step” before they decide to become sexually active.
- Sexting is often used in a romantic relationship between partners.
- Other people think that sexting is a good way to tell someone that they show interest in a future relationship.
What is so wrong about sexting? Unfortunately, what may seem harmless to many people can have severe consequences. In some states, teens that have either sent or received nude images over the phone have been prosecuted on charges of child pornography. Some have even been listed as sex offenders.
Often times, especially after breakups, sexting images are sent to other students. These can also be used as blackmail or even more dangerous forms of sexual harassment. Unwanted media spread of personal images can aggravate anxiety, depression, and even lead to suicide attempts.
Where do your images go? Remember, that once you send an image through your phone or computer, you no longer have control of your image. Your image can now be sent to other people and websites without you even knowing. Always be cautious!
Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com, a website that helps teens get through tough times.
CAPT Donnie Lee, MD
Indian Health Service
Portland Area Diabetes Consultant
Acting Director Office of Clinical Support