Online Dangers: Sexting and Sextortion

What is sexting?

Sexting is when your child creates, sends or shares sexual messages, images or videos with friends, people they know or even strangers online. Older kids may think it is harmless, especially with someone they know or like, but once an image is sent, it is out of their control and it can end up hurting them or someone else.

What is sextortion?

Sextortion is a type of blackmail where someone threatens to send a sexual image or video of your child to friends, family or other people if they don't provide more sexual content, pay them or do what they ask.

What you can do

The most important thing is to be aware and to talk openly and regularly with your child:

Watch with your kids

An animated video for youth that introduces the topics of sexting and sextortion, and gives high-level advice.


Have you heard of sexting? That's when someone sends an image of themselves without clothes on to someone else. If you are ever tempted to do it, remember that you won't be able to control what happens to that picture or video after you hit "send".

In the wrong hands, these images can end up hurting you in different ways. 

Pictures can travel really fast on the Internet, and once they're  posted online, it can be very hard to have them taken down.

Obviously, it can be very upsetting if they are shared with other people. It can affect the way people see you or act around you. It can make it harder for you at school and in your activities. It can even make it hard for you to find a job someday.

Sexting can also make you a target of people who want to control or harm you. Some people might use your pictures or videos to threaten you — saying if you don't do what they want they'll send them to your family or show everybody at school.

That's called sextortion — it can happen with strangers online, but it can also happen if you sext someone you know in real life. Even someone you think is your friend.

Keep in mind that private messages and images don't always stay private — especially online.

Whatever happens, remember that you are not alone. Help is available – report to or visit Kids Help

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