Answer: Have you recently been asked to send sexually explicit images of yourself to someone? Or, have you opened your texts only to be caught off guard by an unwanted picture sent to you? If you can relate to either of these situations, you’re not alone. In fact, a study conducted by MediaSmarts “found that 41 percent of youth [aged 16-20] had sent one or more sexts, with boys and girls sending sexts at roughly the same rate.”
Before responding to requests for sexts, take some time to consider these questions:
Do I trust this person?
Do I want to send an image or am I feeling pressured?
Am I being asked to be involved in something illegal (ie. age differences? position of power?)
How would I feel if this image was shared?
How could sending this image potentially impact me long-term?
Resources: Need Help Now is a user-friendly, Canadian website for teens who find themselves feeling unsure of how to deal with issues specifically related to sexting. In addition, Kids Help Phone has many informative articles on staying safe when navigating the pressures and realities of sexting (like this one).