Online issues and worries: sharing nudes
Nudes are naked, semi-naked (in underwear), or sexual images or videos shared privately or posted online.
Why do people send nudes?
Nudes can be sent between young people who know each other (often called sexting) but sometimes they are shared with or received from strangers on the internet. These are naked, semi-naked (in underwear), or sexual images or videos shared privately or posted online.
You might send nudes because:
- it feels like the next step in your relationship
- exploring your sexuality online might feel safer than doing it 'in real life'
- it feels risky and fun
- you've been pressured into it
- you are confident about your body
Whatever your reason for sending a nude, it's important to know the law.
- It is against the law to take, have or share nude, semi-nude or sexual images of anyone under 18 (even if you're sharing an image of yourself).
- It can be illegal for someone over 18 to send someone under 18 nude, semi-nude or sexual images or to ask them to send nude, semi-nude or sexual images.
What can go wrong?
Once you've sent a photo of yourself to someone, you no longer have control over what happens to it. The person you sent it to can copy, save or screenshot it. They could send it to other people or post it on social media or websites. This can affect your physical and mental wellbeing, and self-esteem.
Even if you send a nude to someone you trust right now, relationships can end badly or go wrong. An angry or upset friend or partner might share your photo as a way of upsetting you and getting revenge. This is against the law.
Threats and blackmail
Someone who has your nude could use this against you in the future. They could threaten to send your picture to others if you don't do what they ask or pressure you into doing something you don't want to. This is also known as sextortion.
Sending a nude to someone without their consent can make them feel awkward or uncomfortable. You should never send a naked picture or video to someone without asking them first. Remember, it's against the law to share sexual images of anybody under 18 (even if it's you).
How to keep yourself safe
It's okay to say no
Sometimes you may feel pressured into sending a nude, but it's okay to say no. If they don't stop asking, you can report and block them on social media.
Be careful who you talk to
It would be easy to tell you to only talk to people you know, but this is unrealistic as many people make friends online. Just make sure that you know how to keep yourself safe. Be aware that people might not be who they say they are. They could be pretending to be someone else to trick you into doing something sexual. Don't send nude or sexual images or videos to them.
If they start saying or sending things that make you uncomfortable, ask them to stop or block them. If you have already sent a nude image and are being threatened or blackmailed by someone, let an adult know straight away. See our advice on grooming and catfishing for more information.
What if it's already happened?
Someone shared my nude
Your nude should never be posted online or shared with others without your consent, even if you were the one that sent it to someone. This is against the law. Report it as soon as possible and get help to take it down on Report Remove.
I've been asked to send a nude by someone I know
If someone asks you to send nudes and you're under 18, this is against the law. Tell them that you are not comfortable doing this and point out that it's illegal. Choose to block them if they continue. Save any messages as evidence. Talk to a trusted adult and get help to report to CEOP. If you're unsure how to start a conversation with someone, here are some tips.
Report unwanted nudes or messages
If you've received an unwanted nude or a message asking for one, you can report it to the social media platform and block the person who sent it. Once again, if anybody is under 18, this is illegal.
Advice from other young people aged 12-16
If you are being pressured to share something online that makes you uncomfortable, don’t do it. You are in charge of yourself and you can decide how much you share.
No one should force or pressure you to do something you’re uncomfortable with or don’t want to do. Talk to an adult about your concerns, like a parent, teacher or guardian.
Take a breath and say no. Either don’t answer, or don’t share. Do the ‘b.r.t’ – block, report, and tell someone. Do not be afraid to stand up for yourself.
Where to go for help
If you’re looking for help or information, but you’re worried about starting a conversation with an adult, here are some tips.
- The Internet Watch Foundation - if nude, semi-nude or sexual images of you or anyone else under 18 have been shared online, report it anonymously. This is illegal, and they can get it taken down
- CEOP – works with the police to advise you and your parents/carers about sexual abuse and grooming
- Report Harmful Content - threats, impersonation, bullying or harassment, self-harm or suicide, online abuse, violence, unwanted sexual advances, and pornographic content
- Report Remove - report and remove nude images that have been shared online
- Social media – report inappropriate or explicit content on social media
- Meic - free and confidential helpline for children and young people in Wales with advisers to help you find the support you need. Call 080880 23456, text 84001 or chat online
- Childline - free, private and confidential helpline for children and young people in the UK where you can talk about anything. Call 0800 1111
- ‘So You Got Naked Online’ – guide about what to do if a nude or sexual image or video of you has been shared online
- YoungMinds - mental health support for young people
- CEOP Education - advice for 11-18 years on the internet and relationships
- Shore - Confidential information and support for young people concerned about sexual thoughts or behaviour
Call 999 if you, or someone you know, is in immediate danger
Safer Internet Day film
Check out this film from Ysgol Nantgwyn which looks at the impact of sharing nudes without consent.
This video explains how Report Remove can help if a nude image or video of you has been shared online.