Nudes are a part of life for many young people, even if they don’t share them
Thinking of sharing nudes?
It’s not okay to be pressured into sending nudes. If you feel uncomfortable sharing something of yourself, choose a way to express yourself that won’t put you at risk.
If someone's nudes are shared without consent, it’s never the person's fault in the nudes – the responsibility is 100% with the person who passed them on.
Sharing naked or nearly naked content of someone without their permission is called image based abuse. This can be a crime – even if the person sent it to you in the first place. If you’ve been sent a nude of someone else without their consent, we also have tips about what you should do.
Before you hit send
Once you share a nude, it becomes more challenging to control what happens to it, so it’s worth thinking it through before sending anything.
Sharing nudes or nearly nudes, even in a trusted relationship, can cause issues. We've had reports were people have had their images shared as a ‘joke’, when a relationship ended or when friends became angry at each other.
Even when sending content that disappears, there are ways for other people to make a copy without you knowing. There are also situations where people blackmail others into sending more nudes by threatening to release the original content if they don’t send more.
Someone shared my nudes
Having your nudes shared without your consent can be hard to deal with. The first thing to know is that you’re not to blame. If nude or nearly nude images or video of you have been shared without your consent, there are things that you can do:
1. Screenshot the content, if possible, and make a record of where the content is (capture any URLs if you can) 2. Report the content to the platform (e.g. Facebook, Snapchat, PornHub) it's on and request the content is removed 3. Report the profile or account of the person who shared your content to the platform it was shared on 4. Contact Netsafe to find out what options are available to you
Netsafe can explain all the options available, try to get the nudes removed and talk to you about the law. Our helpline is free and confidential, and available seven days. If someone's threatening to share your nudes or blackmailing you, we can also help you. Our team talks to people in situations like this daily, so we’re used to helping people in similar situations and can provide you all the information you need.
For more information about how we can help visit netsafe.org.nz/image-based-abuse
Been sent a nude image you didn't ask for?
Being sent a nude that you didn’t ask for can be upsetting. Talking to someone about the message may help. This is especially important if you’re under 18 or if the person is much older than you.
You can also consider reporting the content or blocking the person from contacting you again as this will stop them from sending you more content.
If you’ve received a message that makes you uncomfortable, try talking to an adult you trust. If you’ve been sent a nude image/photo of someone else without their consent, we can talk to you about what to do.
There are a few actions you can take depending on your situation
If someone has sent you a nude that makes you feel uncomfortable, think about talking to a trusted adult. You could also contact the Police or a helpline like Netsafe. We offer free advice with no judgement and can talk to you about what to do next. There are also some steps you might want to do yourself:
If someone is harassing you by constantly sending unsolicited nudes, you should talk to Netsafe for advice.
The Classification Office asked their Youth advisory Panel Members some difficult questions about sending and sharing nudes. Here is what they had to say:
What are your thoughts on unsolicited nudes?
Watch the video for youth commentary around unsolicited nudes.
“...you need to ensure that the other person feels safe around what you are doing...For me personally I’d rather, not necessarily a warning but like more ensure that you are on the same term. That the other person is comfortable with the things you are sending and talking about.” - Male, 18, Pasifika
Why do you think people share other people’s nudes?
“It kind of dehumanises the idea that that’s someone’s body, that’s someone’s life. If you take away that kind of human factor a lot of people don’t feel that same empathy for that person. I feel like at the same time a lot of people share it to feel accepted. They don’t want to feel rejected by their friends or feel that somehow they are left out because they haven’t received nudes or they feel left out because they haven’t experienced as much as everyone else.” - Male, 18, Pasifika
I think people sort of want validation in their own friends and might think that it’s kind of like a bragging right that they’re further on in a relationship than others might think and they just want to prove that they’re more mature.” - Female, 18, NZ European
Who is at fault, the person who sends the nude or the person who shares it?
“Completely the person who shares it on. I think we are very quick to victim blame...But in this reality people are going to take nudes and share them but you have a trust with the person that you share them with, that they don’t go any further and they should respect that...” - Female, 18, NZ European
“Easily the sharer... If you are sharing it without permission then you have actively just violated their privacy and their individuality basically. There is no excuse for that, it’s terrible.” - Male, 18, NZ European
Is there expectation to send nudes?
“Relationships have a sort of progression as they go along and some people might think that sending nudes is a part of that for like everyone. People need to talk to their partners and discuss if they want to send them or receive them so that everyone is on the same page.” - Female, 18, NZ European
“A lot of people go into relationships only wanting one thing. If you go into a relationship only wanting nudes, only wanting a certain aspect then obviously when you get to that stage you are always expecting them to be sending them and you feel like that is a normal thing. Especially if you have already seen them.” - Male, 18, Pasifika
What would you do if a nude showed up in a group chat?
“It depends on my role in the group chat I guess. If I was an admin of it I would take it down and talk to the person who did it. If not, I would message in the group chat or maybe even outside of it and ask where did you get that from and why did you send it to the group chat. What made you feel like you need to share it with all of these people?” - Male, 18, NZ European
“Depending on what I would do I would be doing that to protect the person because I don’t think they would want their nudes to be shared. I would immediately be like no no no, delete that. For the safety of the other person.” - Female, 19, NZ European
“First of all I think if you had the chance to pull that person aside who is sending that out and show that what they are doing is wrong – as far as I know that person may not want that to be spread out so ensure they know the consequences of that. I think at the same time confronting it on a larger level so trying to change the culture within your own group if that is accepted and validated. You want to be able to call that out.” - Male, 18, Pasifika
What would you do if someone sent you someone else’s nude?
“First I would be weirded out and then I would ask them why first. If I don’t know who it is I would ask who is it. If it is someone that I know I would ask how did you get it. Did they send it to you or did someone else send it to you first – get the back story. I would advise them to unsend it and if they have sent it to anyone else I would very much advise them to unsend it to all of those people because you don’t know what other people are going to do with it.” - Male, 18, NZ European
“First of all talk to the person who did send it to me. I would probably just express my concern with that and how that is showing a lack of empathy towards the person who did send it to them. And then if it is obvious talking to the person who did send it in the first place and ensure that they are safe and that they know that it is out and taking it to the next level – finding a solution.” - Male, 18, Pasifika
Having your nude or partially nude images and videos shared without your consent is not your fault. It can also be an offence under New Zealand law. Once sexual images are shared without consent, it's known as image based abuse which can be an offence under the Harmful Digital Communications Act - and potentially other laws.
Even if you shared or made the images/video with someone consensually, it doesn’t mean you have consented to the content being shared with another person or a wider group. It can also be an offence to threaten to share images or videos without someone’s consent.
Parents and whānau continue to be concerned about young people sending intimate content of themselves. It can be difficult to talk to your child about the risks involved and why consent is important so we’ve put some information together to help you.
How often are young people sharing nudes?
Netsafe's research shows that the rates of young people sharing intimate content of themselves is relatively low (just four percent of young people aged between 14-17 surveyed). What is more common is the pressure to share – one in five young people have been asked to send something. The research also revealed that young people believe sharing nudes or nearly nude images is commonplace, with about half of all respondents saying sharing nudes happens "often” or “very often”.
According to the research the likelihood of sending content does increase with age. We encourage parents to talk to their children when they think it's age-appropriate. The research indicates that girls are more likely to receive requests than boys, but are no more likely to share anything than boys.
What are the risks?
The risks associated with this behaviour is obvious to most adults. Many young people don’t think anything bad will happen to them, or that it's a harmless activity that everyone is doing, or it's what you do when you love someone.
Explain to your child how easy it is to share intimate images beyond their intended audience, especially if a relationship or friendship ends badly, and how difficult it is to control what might happen. Even in a trusted relationship, it can still be reposted or shared as a 'joke'.
There are also situations where people blackmail others into sending more by threatening to release the original content if they don’t more. This can lead to online bullying, abuse and harassment and sometimes significant distress.
How can I help my child?
There is a strong misconception amongst young people that everybody’s doing it. This myth can make them feel extra pressure as they believe everyone is doing it, but it’s important to let your child know this actually isn’t the case. Young people will often learn about the concept of a digital footprint at school. Explain that anything that's shared, posted or published online becomes part of their digital record, and it can be hard to remove. Talk to your kids about the risks of sharing intimate content and what can happen once created and shared. Teach them how to use privacy settings to lock down social media accounts, restrict who can view their profile and be cautious about sharing images.
Another step you can take to minimise the harm your child may experience is to make a plan with them ahead of time about what you’ll do if things go wrong online - regardless of what happens. The plan could cover who they would talk to and how they would report and remove harmful content. It might also be useful to read our Online Safety Parent Toolkit as it offers practical tips and tools that will help you talk to your child about online safety.
If you’ve shared someone’s nudes without consent, here are a few things you can do:
Netsafe can also give you advice and answer any questions you have.
Netsafe helps keep people safe online. Whether you’re dealing with bullying, scams or need advice about another issue for yourself or someone else, we can help.
Other organisations that can help
Youthline 0800 376 633
The Lowdown 0800 111 757
Rainbow Youth Book a support session online at ry.org.nz