Tips & Guidelines for dealing with sexting
Sexting refers to the act of sending or receiving sexually explicit messages, images, or videos, usually through digital means like smartphones or social media platforms. It can encompass consensual exchanges between adults or may involve coercion and exploitation, leading to potential legal and emotional consequences.
What Accounts for Sexting:
Sexting can occur within various contexts, including romantic relationships, casual encounters, or among individuals exploring their sexuality. However, it’s crucial to recognize that non-consensual sexting or coercion can turn this consensual act into a tool for exploitation, often leading to sextortion.
Who is Generally Exposed to Sexting and Where:
Sexting is prevalent across different age groups and demographics, but adolescents and young adults are often more exposed due to the increased use of digital communication. Social media platforms, dating apps, and instant messaging services are common spaces where sexting occurs
In 2023, Cyberbaap received nearly one distress call per day related to sextortion cases arising from sexting, marking the highest number of victims seeking assistance under a specific category. We have observed a significant surge in distress calls, emphasizing the urgent need to address the risks associated with sexting and its potential link to sextortion.
Here are some tips for dealing before engaging in sexting:
- Take Your Time, Make Informed Choices: Consider the potential consequences before sending any intimate or explicit content. Avoid rushing such messages; instead, take the time to understand the risks involved. Once sent, you lose control over where it might end up.
- Privacy Settings: Ensure your social media accounts and messaging apps have strong privacy settings. Restrict who can view or access your content.
- Trust and Consent: Only engage in sexting if you completely trust the recipient and have mutual consent. Remember, consent can be withdrawn at any time.
- Pause Before Sending: Quickly getting into sexting can increase the risk of sextortion. Hastily engaging in sexting might make you more susceptible to manipulation or sextortion attempts. Take a moment to consider the potential consequences, as sharing intimate content hastily can escalate situations and make you more vulnerable to exploitation or blackmail.
- Avoid Pressure: Never feel pressured into sending explicit content. If someone is pressuring you or making you uncomfortable, it’s important to assert your boundaries.
- Don’t Share Others’ Content: Respect others’ privacy and don’t share intimate content without their explicit consent.
- Immediate Action if Uncomfortable: If you receive unsolicited explicit content or feel uncomfortable with the conversation, block the sender and report the incident to the platform.
- Think Long-Term: Remember that digital content can last forever. Even if deleted, it might be saved or shared without your knowledge.
- Seek Help if Needed: If you’ve experienced any form of harassment, bullying, or coercion related to sexting, seek help from a trusted adult, counsellor, or support organization.
- Education and Awareness: Educate yourself and others about the risks associated with sexting. Spread awareness among peers to promote responsible online behavior.
Sexting can carry legal implications, especially when involving minors or non-consensual sharing. Understanding the potential risks and taking proactive steps to protect privacy and safety is crucial in today’s digital age.