Sexting and Teens

You may have heard of sexting but not know what it means. This is when a person talks about sex through a text message. It may also be when a person sends or asks for images such as nude photos using a cell phone. Some teens think sending nude photos is cool, but it is not.

To send nude photos of a person under 18 years of age may result in federal criminal charges. It is also a crime for minors to send nude photos of themselves to other minors. Parents who allow teens to share nude photos may also be charged.

Sexting often happens when it is not wanted. This can cause stress and problems. It can also be a way to abuse or harass someone. For example, a person might:

  • Force or pressure someone to send nude photos or sexual words.
  • Share a sex video recorded with a cell phone.
  • Send unwanted words or images about sex.
  • Threaten to hurt someone if nude photos are not sent.

It is very easy to share sexual words and photos. It can happen any place and any time since so many teens carry cell phones. This also makes it easy for a photo to be shared quickly and with a lot of people. A sexual image on the internet may never go away. It can be used in ways that can hurt the person in the photo.

If someone you know under 18 years old is being forced to send nude photos, you should contact the police or call the number below.

Anyone who has been abused may call the National Dating Abuse Helpline to talk or get advice from a teen or adult. The number is 1-866-331-9474 (TTY 1-866-331-8453).

You can also visit these websites:

To find the domestic abuse program nearest you, visit the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence and click on Find Help or use the Find Help map on the home page.