Young people have been blackmailed with their own pictures and paedophiles have also been found to pose as the person in the picture to trap other victims.
Images most commonly being shared include boys exposing themselves or masturbating, girls that have removed items of clothing as well as sexual acts that could be considered as pornographic material.
You might want to start a discussion with them exploring the consequences of sexting asking them if someone was to send a sexting image, what would they be consenting too?
For example, the other person to see this picture and then you can ask them what would they not be consenting too?
In some of the work we do with young people in our Teen Boundaries sessions, there are very frank conversations about why someone wants to do this.
Many young people felt under pressure to do this because their boyfriend or girlfriend said “if you loved me you would do this” reassuring them that no one else would see this picture.
Finally, there is protection against screenshots with no names displayed in private chat rooms.
The law is quite clear on sexting and police and the criminal justice system are taking sexting more serious than ever in a bid to try and minimise young people exploiting themselves in this way.
It is illegal to take, possess or share 'indecent images’ of anyone under 18 even if you're the person in the picture.
Talk to your teen about relationships and let them know that respecting one another is important.
They do not have to feel forced into doing anything they are not comfortable with and they can come and talk to you if they feel pressured.