Sexting – Cyprus Safer Internet Center ‘CyberEthics’ - Let’s Talk about Sex and Texting!
Did you ever wonder in what ways your future employers, friends or family would like to see you like? How would you feel if sexting was having a great impact in your personal life? A new phenomenon which involves messages with sexual content is spreading rapidly in teenagers’ lives!
So, what is sexting? In particular, it is the act of sending or receiving photographs, video and/or messages that are sexual by using mobile phones and other electronic devices. Usually, the act is between friends from the same school or even pupils outside school who are related with the person in the messages or photographs. Moreover, boyfriends and girlfriends commence sexting either by a requirement of the partner or to amaze the other person. However, the photos and videos can be spread around fast and easily by text messaging, emails and through social networking sites for an ample audience, which can lead to humiliation of the person and also to a psychological trauma. Sexting can lead to very dreadful consequences, even suicide.
One needs to know that taking and sending sexual and nude photos of a minor is illegal and they could be accused on generating or disseminating child pornography. By having such photos on a mobile phone, computer or any other electronic device, means that he/she is being a participant of this criminal act.
Essentially, if a teenager receives such a message/ photo/ video then he/she must not forward it to anyone because it is consider as a federal felony. The youngster should speak to his/her parents or a reliable adult. In case that the content is still disseminated, then it is advisable to talk to someone or report it either to the Safer Internet Hotline or to the Cyber Crime Unit of the Police.
On the occasion that a parent notices that his/her child sends nude photos either of him/herself or of other people, then he/she has to advice the child to bring it to an end. It is recommended to have a peaceful talk, support the teenager and explain what the risks of sexting are.
Since 2009 only two incidents of sexting have been reported on the Helpline of CyberEthics. Nevertheless, this does not mean that there are few incidents based on sexting in Cyprus. On the contrary, teenagers have not realised the danger that they put themselves or others in by possessing and forwarding nude photographs, which leads to child pornography.
If you are a victim of sexting, and you do not know how to handle it, contact the Helpline. There is someone who can listen to your problem, assist you and guide you on how you can deal with this uncomfortable experience. It is always operated with confidentiality and anonymity. Substantially, the Helpline is in co-operation with the Police Department of Cyber Crime in Cyprus as well as social networking sites where direct communication with Facebook, Twitter and Ask.Fm. is efficient.