Erasmus+ Programme


Definition and Types

Sexting consists of the dissemination or publication of sexual content (mainly photographs or videos), produced by the sender themselves, by means of mobile phones or other devices. The content is usually of an intimate nature: sounds, photographs or videos of themselves in provocative poses, naked or semi-naked, normally recorded for their partner or, in many cases, for other friends, as a mere game.

There are a number of aspects of sexting, as presented below:

Across Europe, there are ongoing developments in the regulation of situations like sexting, grooming and virtual child pornography, such as the Convention of the Council of Europe for the protection of children against sexual exploitation and abuse, regulating these occurrences in the context of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Risks and Consequences

How does this phenomenon affect teenagers? Who does it?

Several studies show that more than 1 in 4 teenagers have sent a photograph of themselves naked by electronic means; that half of them were asked to do so and that 1in 3 asked others for naked photographs. In most of the cases, boys ask girls (27% feel really offended) and those who participate in sexting generally correlate with people who are sexually active.

According to data collected in the EU Kids survey promoted by the European Commission via their Safer Internet programme, 1 in 10 minors aged between 12 and 16 said that they had received sexual messages. A quarter of them said that those messages affected or offended them.


It is important to highlight that, in practice, risks are diverse and hardly isolated. Sexting usually derives from various threats that are intertwined.

Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.