Teen sexting is on the rise. While not considered sexual abuse, teen sexting can still create problems when unwanted nudes are sent without consent to classmates, teachers, or family members without their knowledge and consent. Forwarding or receiving sexts could result in expulsion from sports teams, decreased educational opportunities or legal consequences.
Sexting has become an effective and easy way for predators to target and blackmail teens, especially online predators posing as young girls online to target boys between 14-17 years old – known as grooming – which may result in either traditional sexting where an attacker threatens to make victim images public, or financial sexting where they demand money in exchange for keeping those photos private.
In 2022, more children ages 9-12 reported they believed it was normal for kids their age to share SG-CSAM (nude and sexually explicit images, videos or messages) than in 2019. There was also an increase in the number of kids age 11-13 who saw nonconsensually reposted nudes on social media platforms.
An 11-year-old girl reported an incident where an adult woman gained entry to her Discord account and began communicating with an underage male student at school, sparking suspicion among both herself and her parents, prompting Augusta County police to arrest and charge the alleged groomer with child pornography.