Sexting is the use of your phone, computer, or camera to take or send sexual messages and/or photos. For many people, sexting seems like a harmless act that may make a relationship more fun or exciting, but sexting can outlast your crush/relationship and in many instances be illegal. In addition, once you send that photo or text you can never get it back.

Unfortunately, sexts can cause many problems for those who send them, receive them, or even share them with others. These problems can range from social embarrassment to legal charges and arrest. For example, pictures may be posted online or shared with others in your school or place or employment without your permission, violating your privacy. However, for those who send, receive, or share pictures of those who are younger than 18 years of age may face legal consequences due to child pornography laws. And yes, child pornography laws still apply even if everyone involved is under 18 years of age. 

So before you send that text or photo make sure you think about the social, physiological, and legal consequences. If you have any tips on sexting, please use Friends for Life to send in an anonymous report.

Did You Know?

  • Almost 15% of young people have sent a sext while 27% have received a sext.
  • 12% of young people have forwarded a sext without consent from the other individual.
  • 8% have had their sext forwarded to someone other than the intended recipient.
  • Sexting has increased as smartphone ownership and usage has increased.
  • Contrary to popular belief, males and females send and receive sexts (messages, photos, and videos) at about the same rate.

The Consequences of Sexting:

Sexting is an issue that involves many complex health, developmental, psychological, and legal concerns. For this reason, it is advised that you consider all the consequences first before deciding to send that text, DM, or email that may contain sexually explicit text, photos, or videos.

  • Embarrassment and humiliation, especially if the text is sent to those it wasn’t intended for.
  • Bullying as a result of sexting, especially cyberbullying.
  • The loss of friendships, even close ones.
  • Experiencing guilt and shame that may impact self-esteem.
  • Criminal charges can be brought against anyone who has sent or received an explicit image or video.
  • Having to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. 
  • Read the full Texas State Law on sending explicit photos or videos depicting a minor by clicking here.

What Do You Do When You Receive an Explicit Photo/Video?

  • Do NOT send or show it to anybody else. Not only is this abusive and violates trust, if it is someone under 18, it is a crime even if you are also under 18 years old.
  • Tell them you do not want to receive pictures or photos like this if it makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • If someone sends you someone else’s sext let that person know that it’s NOT okay to do that and they should stop sending to others immediately. Do NOT forward any explicit photos/videos you receive.
  • Tell your parents or another trusted adult right away, especially if it makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
  • Send in an anonymous report to Friends for Life.
  • NOTE: If you want to report a sexting incident, save the photo/video as evidence and contact an appropriate authority (e.g., law enforcement, Friends for Life, etc) right away. After a report has been taken, immediately DELETE that photo/video.


  • National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
    • 24/7 Cyber Tipline: 1-800-843-5678
  • 1in6
    • 1-877-628-1in6 (1466)
    • The mission of 1in6 is to help men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences live healthier, happier lives.
  • Love is Respect
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
  • RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline
  • Texas Youth Helpline
  • The Women’s Center of Tarrant County
    • Rape Crisis & Victim Services Hotline: 817-927-4039
    • Fort Worth Location: 
      • 1723 Hemphill St., Fort Worth, TX 7610
      • 817-927-4040
    • Arlington Location:
      • 401 W. Sandford St., Ste. 1200, Arlington, TX 76011
      • 817-548-1663