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Is your child a victim of Sexting?


Sandeep, a studious engineering student’s parents noticed that their son has lost interest in his studies over last few weeks, had strong mood swings and was isolating himself, On speaking, they found out that Sandeep was sexting for fun, but the content shared was used to blackmail him.

As per one study, In India one in four teenegers have been sexted and one in seven have sexted someone. Sexting is the sending, receiving or forwarding of sexually explicit material over electronic devices, including cellphones and computers over social media(WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram etc), games chat windows, dating apps etc. Sexually explicit material includes nude or partially nude photos or videos. Sexting may appear innocent to some, but it can have major legal and social repercussions, especially when one of the sender is a minor or the picture/video sexted is of minor’s as sending/receiveing or storing of such content with or without consent of the minor is illegal and may involve jail time. Sexting can lead to or involve various other cybercrimes like revenge porn, cyberbullying, cybergrooming, sextortion etc or when these shared images or videos is posted on public porn websites and forums.

Studies have found that apart from becoming a victim of cybercrime, there are mental health risk factors and sexual behaviors linked with kids and teens who sext, compared to those that don’t. Young people who sext are more likely to suffer guilt, depression and/or anxiety, indulge in drugs, alcohol etc or engage in unhealthy sexual activities with multiple partners. Some of the pointers or warning signs that parents must watch out for in their children include anxiety, depression, strong reactions or serious mood swings after or during checking mobile or isolating self and loosing interest in studies/food etc. Parents need to understand the reasons why their kids are indulging in sexting, some of the reasons may include teenage hormones, experimentation, instant gratification, anonymity and access to other sex etc.

To prevent Sexting related issues, Parents can :-

Keep a close eye on how kids are using their wireless devices, especially for younger teens.

If your child is a victim of Sexting :-

Immediately file a complaint by contacting Cyber Helpline number 1930 or on their website or visit a child crime specific police station and file a FIR and take their advice. Block that user, but take a backup of all the conversations and any other incrementing details as they will be needed as evidence for convicting the culprit. Comfort your child or the victim and if needed take the help of therapist’s to work through the mental and emotional effects.

Remedies available to the victim legally in India :-

You can register a criminal case at your nearest cyber or children specific or regular police station, under the following legal sections or the Act as per sections prescribed by the police based on your case :

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