Dear Aunty Sprout,
There’s a girl I really like in the year above me, and we’re both on Snapchat a lot and she’s really funny. The other day she started messaging me for “different” snaps of me like nudes and that but I’m not sure I want to. I know my mates have done it, but I don’t want it to seem like I haven’t got the guts so I can’t really talk to them. What happens if I do it?
Hi there! Thanks for getting in touch with us here at Meic.
I can tell that this is something that is worrying you and it’s great that you’ve come through to us to talk about this. It’s a tricky dilemma, but one that is facing more and more young people as technology becomes a bigger part of our everyday lives.
Snapchat is a really great way to stay connected with your friends and share pictures of what you have been doing with your time, however if used in the wrong way sharing images can get you and the other person into trouble and could also place you at risk.
What your friend has asked you to do is something that is known as “sexting”, sending naked pictures of yourself via social media. It’s okay that you feel confused about this and there could actually be serious consequences if you do this when you are under 18 and classed as a child in the eyes of the law.
The law says that it is illegal to possess or share “indecent images” of anyone under the age of 18, even selfies.
So if you, or your friend, were to be found in possession of naked image of yourselves or each other you could both face criminal charges. This link should help you understand this.
Maybe you could share this with your friend to help her understand why you don’t want to send her these pictures?
Another thing to consider about sexting is that even on apps like Snapchat, although the image may seem to have disappeared this does not mean that it is gone and it is easy for the recipient to take a screenshot of this with their phone. If you do not fully trust the person who has received the photo, there is then the chance that this photo could be shared with others without your consent, which for an intimate or nude image could be both hurtful and upsetting. Please see this link about keeping safe when deciding to “sext”.
You mention feeling worried about your other friends finding out that you don’t want to do this as you worried about them thinking you don’t have the guts. If they are good friends they will support you whatever your decision and if you’re not ready to take this step with your friend then that’s okay. If she, or your other friends, put you under pressure to send these texts, this is called sexual pressuring and you don’t have to give in to this if you’re not ready.
It sounds like your friend is looking for the relationship to become intimate, it might be worth discussing this with her to find out where you both stand and if that’s what you both really want.
This link will give some tips on how to approach this conversation with your friend and information on sexual pressuring.
I hope the information has been helpful, thanks for coming through to us.
If you still feel unsure about what to do and want to discuss this a bit more please feel free to contact our friends over at Meic:
Phone: 080880 23456
Instant Message: www.meic.cymru
Every day, 8am — midnight
If you would like to talk to anyone about bereavement or other things, please contact Meic, the national information, advice and advocacy helpline for 0-25s in Wales. You can contact Meic by phone (080880 23456), text (84001), instant message (www.meic.cymru) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) between 8am and midnight.
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