There are various consequences of sexting such as emotional distress and unwanted attention. Other consequences such as a loss of control and blackmail and bullying are covered in more depth below.
No control of images and how they are shared
It is easy to send a photo or message but the sender has no control about how it is passed on.
When images are stored or shared online they become public. Some people may think that images and videos only last a few seconds on social media and then they are deleted, but they can still be saved or copied by others. This means that photos or videos which a young person may have shared privately could still end up being shared between individuals they don't know.
Family Lives, a charitable organisation providing family support services, has reported that when young people were asked who they thought might see an image if it has been posted online they stated the obvious like friends and family. However, they didn't think about the future, potential employers and universities who may also see the images. A lot of employers use Google to research prospective student and applicants, there have been widely publicised cases where a person has either lost a job or not been successful based on their online activities or inappropriate images.
Police continue to warn of the dangers sexting can have, including the risk of being exploited by paedophiles and sexual predators. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre say that some of the material being circulated can find its way onto forums used by child sex offenders.
Blackmail and Bullying
Sexting is far from harmless and can leave young people vulnerable to blackmail and bullying. An offender may threaten to share the pictures with the child's family and friends unless the child sends money or more images.
If images are shared with their peers or in school, the child may be bullied.