Nudes

Sending nudes, sometimes referred to as ‘sexting’, means taking or sharing naked, partially dressed or sexually explicit images of yourself or others, using technology.

Nudes may end up being shared online in a number of different ways, for example:

  • a person sharing their own nude with someone else, because they want to;
  • a person sharing their own nude with someone else, because they feel pressured to do so;
  • a person receiving the nude of someone else, and sharing it with one or lots of other people, without the original sender's permission; or
  • a person using a nude of someone online and sharing it with other people, pretending it is a person they know.

 

Questions you may have:

  • Why do people send nudes? Open or Close

    Some young people tell us that taking and sending nude images makes them feel more confident about themselves and about their bodies, and can be a way to explore new relationships with others. However, sometimes people send nudes without the permission of the original sender, maybe for a joke, a dare or because they think it’s cool. This can make people feel betrayed, embarrassed, upset and disrespected, which is never okay.

  • Is everybody sending nudes? Open or Close

    No! It might sound like everyone is doing it, but that's not usually the case. The private nature of nude photos can mean lots of gossip and rumours get shared about them, which might make it sound like sending nudes is more common than it is.  

  • What is the law for young people sending nudes? Open or Close

    In England and Wales, there is a law called the Protection of Children Act 1978. This Act states that anyone who creates an indecent image of someone under 18 (e.g. a nude or nearly nude photo) breaks the law. Sending an image on like that, or saving an image like that, also breaks the law.

    In Northern Ireland, there is a law called the Protection of Children Order 1978. This Order states that anyone who creates an indecent image of someone under 18 (e.g. a nude or nearly nude photo) breaks the law. Sending an image on like that, or saving an image like that, also breaks the law.

    In Scotland, there is a law called the Civic Government Act 1982. This Act states that anyone who creates an indecent image of someone under 18 (e.g. a nude or nearly nude photo) breaks the law. Sending an image on like that, or saving an image like that, also breaks the law.

  • What will the police do if nudes are reported to them? Open or Close

    The National Police Chiefs' Council of England, Wales and Northern Ireland have stated that young people engaging in sexting should not face prosecution, especially for first time incidents, but should receive help and support. In Scotland, local forces may also use their discretion when deciding on what action to take, to avoid unnecessarily criminalising young people.

    The situation will still be investigated to ensure that the young people involved are not at risk of further harm. Repeat offences and more extreme cases are reviewed differently, still with a focus on avoiding prosecution unless absolutely necessary.

  • How would someone whose nudes are leaked feel? Open or Close

    It can be really upsetting for someone if their nude image is 'leaked' and shared beyond the person they intended it for. Others who see the image may think it's okay to blame, embarrass, or bully the person in the nude photo, which of course, it is not. The person in the photo may feel a negative impact on their self-esteem and their emotions.

  • Could nudes damage my online reputation? Open or Close

    Images and videos can be shared very far, very quickly when online. It can be difficult to know for certain where an image goes, where it is saved and where it might reappear in the future. People such as future employers, universities, colleges or friends may make an unfair judgement about someone if a nude image is linked to their online reputation. On the other hand, if someone's involvement in sharing someone else's nude forms part of their online reputation, this does not show them to be a trustworthy person.

  • I’ve seen a nude being shared around, what should I do? Open or Close

    If you see a nude being shared around, it’s important not to share it on further. This is breaking the law and could be hurtful for the person in the image. Instead, you should report the image by telling an adult you know and trust about what’s happening. Alternatively you may be able to report it online.

  • Someone has sent me a nude, what should I do? Open or Close

    If someone has sent you a nude as part of a relationship you’re in, because you asked for it or because you’re comfortable together, then remember they have trusted you with something very personal. Respect that trust and don’t share it on or show other people. It’s important to remember that a nude of someone under 18 breaks the law, even if it was sent with consent and both people involved liked doing it, so it may be helpful to talk to the person who sent it and agree to delete the image and wait until you’re older to do this again.

    If someone has sent you their nude to upset you, embarrass you, or pressure you into sending them yours, that’s a form of sexual harassment, and is not acceptable. Delete the image and talk to an adult you trust for their support. There are ways you can block others from contacting you or sending you things online. Remember it’s not your fault.

    If an adult has sent you a nude image then delete the image, talk to an adult you know and trust for support and report the incident on the ThinkUKnow website.

  • Someone is pressuring me to send them nudes, what should I do? Open or Close

    Pressuring someone for this type of image is not okay – it’s a form of sexual harassment. Healthy relationships are not built on pressure, they are built on trust and if that person won’t take no for an answer, they are not showing they respect or trust you. Remember you are not at fault and that saying no is the right thing to do. You may also find it reassuring to block the person so they can’t contact you again. Speak to an adult you know and trust for help or contact a helpline like Childline or The Mix. They can help you deal with the pressure, and offer support.

  • A nude I took has been leaked online, what can I do? Open or Close

    Firstly: don’t blame yourself. This is not your fault. Secondly: get some support. It’s never too late to get help, even if it feels like the damage has already been done. Speak to an adult you know and trust, or reach out to a helpline for advice. They can support you in deciding what to do next and can help get the image taken down. Even if this feels like the end of the world, remember that you have lots of people who care about you and there are lots of positive steps you can take to move forward from this.

Top Tips

  1. If you see nudes being shared around, don’t join in. Report the images instead and if you can, make sure the person shown in them gets support.
  2. If somebody is pressuring you or a friend to send nudes, remember that is sexual harassment and not okay. Speak to an adult for support and remember: it’s not your fault.
  3. Try to ignore gossip and rumours about nude images, especially if it sounds like everyone is doing it.
  4. If your nude gets leaked online, stay calm and speak to an adult you trust for support and help or contact a helpline.
  5. Remember that even as part of a healthy, consensual relationship, nudes showing under 18 year olds break the law. It’s always better to wait until you’re an adult.