Sometimes it can feel like sending nudes is happening everywhere, especially as new technology has made it easier to take, send and share images. While it might seem like everyone is sharing nudes, research in New Zealand shows it’s less common than you might think. Although a lot of young people have been asked for nudes, only a small number have actually sent one.

We’ve put together some advice to help you if you’re thinking about sending a nude image, you’ve been asked to share a nude, you’ve received a nude or if you’ve shared a nude and something’s gone wrong.

Remember, it’s never ok to be pressured into sending something you don’t want to share. Once you send a nude it becomes a lot more difficult to control what happens to it so it’s worth thinking it through before you hit ‘send’.

What is ‘sexting’?

Sexting is another name for sending or receiving nudes. This can include:

  • naked pictures or ‘nudes’
  • ‘underwear shots’
  • sexual or ‘dirty pics’
  • sexual text messages or videos.

What are the risks?

Once you send an image to someone else it’s more difficult to control what happens to it. Sharing nudes or dirty pics, even in a trusted relationship, can cause issues. Some people have had their nude images shared with others as a ‘joke’, when a relationship has ended or when friends have become angry with each other. There are also situations where people blackmail others into sending more nudes, by threatening to release the original nude online if they don’t send more. It’s important that you think about these risks before you hit ‘send’.

Why do people send nude images?

People send nudes for lots of reasons. These could be:

  • feeling like ‘everyone else is doing it’ even if they’re not – especially if they’re exaggerating about sending photos or boasting about having them on their phone. Research in NZ shows that although a lot of young people have been asked for nudes, only a small number have actually sent one.
  • going along with things you’re uncomfortable with because you’re worried about being seen as ‘not sexy’ or ‘shy’
  • being bullied, threatened or blackmailed into sending pictures
  • wanting someone’s approval or for someone to like you
  • thinking you ‘owe’ your boyfriend or girlfriend or being made to feel guilty
  • being in love with the someone and trusting them completely
  • having a long distance or online relationship with someone and wanting to have a sexual relationship with them
  • feeling proud of your body and wanting to share it with other people.

Before you hit ‘send’:

If you are thinking about sending nudes to someone here are a few things that might be worth thinking about before you hit ‘send’:

Was it your idea?

It’s not okay to be pressured to send nudes. If you feel uncomfortable sharing a record of yourself, choose a way to express yourself that won’t put you at risk of major overexposure.

Where could it end up?

As  soon as you send an image it becomes more difficult to control where it ends up. These days it’s easy for people to share and spread images online. Remember – someone sharing nude images of you without your consent is never your fault, but it’s important to think about the risks before you send.

Been asked for a nude, but not keen to send one?

Here are a few ideas of some funny and creative responses if you’ve been asked to share a nude image by someone. Remember, it’s not ok for someone to pressure you to do something you don’t want to do.

Shared a nude and now regretting it?

If you have sent a nude to someone and now regret it, you should contact that person and ask them to delete it. The quicker you ask them to do this the better. It can be difficult to control what someone does with an image once they have it but having an honest conversation about it can help stop it from being sent on.

If you’re feeling worried or stressed about having shared a nude you should talk to someone about it. This could be your mum, dad, carer, a school teacher, Netsafe or another youth organisation such as Youthline.

You can read some advice on this in our ‘So You Got Naked Online’ guide.

Been sent a nude image you didn’t ask for?

Being sent a nude image which you didn’t ask for can be upsetting. Talking to someone about the message you were sent can help the situation. This is especially important if you’re under 18 or if the person is much older than you.

You can also report the content or block the person from contacting you again. This will stop them from sending you more inappropriate pictures.

People aren’t always honest about who they are online. If you’ve received a sexual message (including a nude image, a sexual email or text message, or a sexual video) or a message that makes you uncomfortable, try talking to an adult you trust.

Sharing isn’t always caring:

Sharing intimate or nude pictures of someone without their consent can be a crime. If someone sends you a nude of themselves or someone else, delete it and definitely don’t share it or show it to anyone else. Think about how that person might feel if someone else saw it or if you were the person whose photo was shared.

When things go wrong:

If someone has shared a nude image of you without your consent:

  • screenshot the content if possible.
  • report the content to the platform it’s on (i.e. Facebook, Snapchat etc).
  • report the profile or account of the person who shared the content to the platform (i.e. Facebook, Snapchat etc).
  • contact Netsafe to report the content and discuss what else can be done. Call 0508 NETSAFE or email help@netsafe.org.nz