: Waiting for next track...

Wessex FM News

Young people warned of the consequences of 'sexting'


Published at 7:27am 13th February 2018.

  • Did you know if you're under 18 its illegal to send sexual texts or pictures of yourself - even if its to someone you know.
  • Dorset Police have launched a campaign to educate under 18's about sexting and what can happen when things go wrong.
  • Last year there were more than 100 reports of sexting in Dorset up from 38 the year before.


Sexting is the term used for the sending or receiving of sexual, naked or semi-naked images or videos which can be taken by a young person of themselves (i.e. a selfie), or by others.  

It is illegal for anyone to take, send, receive or share these types of images of anyone under 18 – including selfies. However, officers’ primary concern is to avoid criminalising young people where it is not appropriate, which means education and awareness is key to keeping young people safe.

Sexting in under 18s is an increasing issue which is reflected nationally. In 2017 there were 101 reports of sexting in Dorset, an increase from 38 reports in 2016, which is likely due to an increased awareness of sexting. 

Sexting advice poster from Dorset Police

Building on the work that Dorset Police’s Safe Schools and Communities Team (SSCT) has already been conducting with local schools and youth groups, it is important to continue to make young people aware of the possible effects of sexting and encourage parents to have open and honest conversations with their children about it.  

Superintendent Matt Lawler, Head of the Alliance Prevention Department, said: “Education and safeguarding is at the forefront of all we do with young people as police forces. We want to re-affirm to young people and parents that we are here to help when you need us.  

“Technology has become ever more advanced and available. By educating young people about the law around sexting and the potential consequences of sending these types of images, we can help them to avoid making a decision they later regret.”

Dorset’s Youth Services Operational Manager, Ian Ison, said: “Our primary concern is to avoid criminalising young people where it is not appropriate and we hope that by educating young people about sexting we can prevent any harmful outcomes and keep young people safe.

“Young people need to remember; when you press send, you’re not just breaking the law, you lose control of that image, where it goes on the internet and who sees it.”

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “Growing up can be challenging and filled with various social pressures. Young people may think that sexting is harmless. Some may not even consider the consequences at all, but the reality is that sending indecent images can leave young people vulnerable to blackmail and even a criminal record. 

“Teens must feel empowered and confident enough to make safer choices. In addition to increasing the resources available to our Safer Schools and Communities Team, I fully support this campaign which aims to ensure that the next generation is better informed of the dangers of sexting.”

Advice for parents around sexting:

Talk to your children about sexting, the law and the potential dangers of sexting:


  • 9/10 selfies end up somewhere else on the internet - when you press send, you lose control
  • It’s illegal to take, send or receive ‘sexts’ of anyone under 18, including selfies
  • Not all teenagers are doing it, even if that’s what they tell their friends 
  • If they’ve done it and it’s gone wrong, speak to an adult they trust

If it has happened:

  • Stay calm and support your child
  • Take the device, don’t screenshot, don’t forward on
  • Speak to your child’s school, they have the power to help
  • Remember: it is illegal, but the police will always help young people and safeguard them in the first instance

Where and how to seek help:



Contact Us

If you would like to submit a query or provide more information on this story please get in touch below.

Please wait...
  • Up to 3 JPG or PNG images, 2MB max size
  • We will always endeavour to credit you when we publish your pictures.
  • By uploading you are agreeing to this non-exclusive reuse, royalty-free, across all Wessex FM platforms, which extends to our partner broadcasters.
  • You retain copyright to all images.
  • If you would like to send us a video, please upload to YouTube or similar and paste the video URL into the message above.
Email Icon

Sign up for exclusive news, competitions and offers.
Proper Local News updates from Wessex FM

dorset business directory

West Dorset MPU
Book A Wessex FM Big Night Out Here

Book A Wessex FM Big Night Out Here

Wessex fm Disco, Quiz & Race Nights!

New Car Stickers

New Car Stickers

Grab your new localised stickers today!

Dorset Webcams

Dorset Webcams

Take a look around our beautiful county



Find out how to grow your business with us

island community action

Trending in Dorset

Dramatic rescue operation at Kimmeridge Bay

A woman fell, causing a nasty head injury.

Can Weymouth FC keep up the pressure at the top?

The Terras have a revenge missing against Merthyr Town.

Man arrested after Christmas Day assault in Weymouth

It's alleged the victim was hit from behind by a blunt weapon.

Open up your garden and raise money for Weldmar

It's a great way to meet new people and get some gardening tips.

Disability campaigners will 'continue to fight' despite council outcome

An amendment for £5 million more funding for Children's Services was voted down at a meeting.

More news...