Sexting: To send or not to send

Year level: 8, 9 or 10


Students use the Laugh and learn video and a decision mapping process to explore situations where people might be asked to send a sext. Emotional, social, ethical and legal consequences of sending or not sending a sext are unpacked. WA image-based abuse laws and where to go for help are also covered.


Learning focus

Year 8

  • The impact bullying and harassment can have on relationships, including online relationships, and the health and wellbeing of themselves and others (ACPPS074)

Year 9

  • Impact of external influences on the ability of adolescents to make health and safe choices relating to: sexuality; and risk taking (ACPPS092)

  • Strategies are examined, such as communicating choices, seeking, giving and denying consent, and expressing opinions and needs that can support the development of respectful relationships, including sexual relationships, for example: investigating the Western Australian legal requirements in relation to seeking, giving, refusing and accepting the refusal of consent, and considering how these laws relate to relationships with friends, colleagues, strangers and intimate partners, in both online and offline interactions.

Year 10

  • External influences on sexuality and sexual health behaviours, including the impact decisions and actions have on their own and others' health and wellbeing (ACPPS092)

  • Skills and strategies to promote respectful relationships, such as: appropriate emotional responses in a variety of situations; taking action if a relationship is not respectful; appropriate bystander behaviour in physical and online interactions (ACCPS093)

  • Effects of emotional responses on relationships, such as: extreme emotions impacting on situations or relationships; the consequences of not recognising emotions in others (ACCPS094)


Key understandings

enlightenedUnwanted sexting is disrespectful, harassment and against the law.

enlightenedSharing, or threatening to share, another person's sext/nude without their consent is image-based abuse and is against the law.

enlightenedThere are actions that can be taken and support available if you receive an inappropriate text messages and/or pictures or if your pictures are shared without your consent.

enlightenedSending sexts/nudes can have emotional, social, ethical and legal consequences.

enlightenedIt is easy to lose control over who sees a sext/nude.

enlightenedIt is important to think about potential consequences when making decisions about sexting. 



  • Laugh and learn video - sexting (2 min 12 sec)
  • eSafety - image based abuse video (2 min 30 sec)

  • Access to Youth Law Australia - Sexting web page

  • Sticky notes (or small pieces of scrap paper)

  • Pens

  • A large floor space or wall space to place sticky note flow chart

  • Optional: PowerPoint slides - To send or not to send?

  • Optional: Take home activity sheet - To send or not to send? (1 per student) - electronic or hard copy

  • Optional: Posters printed from Department of Justice (link provided in Before you get started section)


General capabilities

No General Capabilities values have been selected.

Health and physical education(P)

Relationships and sexuality

Blooms revised taxonomy

No Blooms values have been selected.

Inquiry learning phase

No Inquiry Learning phase values have been selected.

Learning activities

Before you start

  • Be aware that some students undertaking this lesson may have sent or received a sext. Emphasise that you do not want to know who has or hasn't sent or received a sext. 

  • Protective interrupting - Teachers need to know and understand how to use this technique to prevent students form potentially disclosing sensitive information or abuse in front of other students.

  • Dealing with disclosures - Teachers must be aware of the school and legal procedures if a student discloses personal issues, particularly disclosures of sexual abuse.

  • Exploring my own values - Consider your own thoughts, feelings, attitudes and values on this topic and be aware of how they may influence the way you present this activity. Be aware of your own self-care and support networks. Read The art of safe sextingHow to practise safe sextingEverything you need to know about sexting. Ideally, these and other associated issues need to be covered and extended in more lessons.

  • Liaise with the school health team (e.g. Community health nurse, school psychologist) to inform them of the content you will be covering in class. It may be helpful to have these additional adults in these lessons or on standby for any individual or small group work that may need to take place. 

  • Preview Laugh and learn video - Sexting  (2min 12sec) and eSafety - Image based abuse (1min 50sec)  to determine suitability for your students.

  • Teachers should be familiar with the laws on sexual consent, sexting and image-based abuse.

  • Visit eSafety - sexting for background information on the what, why and how of sexting. 

  • Sexting definition: Most sexting is done with a mobile phone but it also occurs through social media and other online activities. Sexting can include a range of behaviours and content, from sending flirtatious text messages to more intimate material, like taking and sharing nude photos or videos capturing sexual acts. The term 'sexting' is not often used by young people or in popular culture. 'Nudes', 'naked selfie', 'pic for pic', 'dic pics' are some of the terms young people might use. Other terms include intimate images, sexually explicit images or messages.

  • Students may bring up popular media (tv shows and movies) which deal with image based abuse, youth suicide, mental health and other issues faced by teens. Sometimes organisations like and eSafety Commissioner have created resources to support use of popular media in the classroom. 

  • Optional: Print Department of Justice posters.



Group agreement

Time to complete Group agreement: 5 min

yesTeaching tip: A group agreement must be established before any Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) program begins to ensure a safe learning environment. Read: Essential information: Establishing a group agreement for tips on how to create one and what to include.

  1. Revise the class group agreement

  2. Remind students that throughout the lesson they can write any questions down and add them to the question box at the end of the lesson (if they do not wish to ask them during the lesson). See Essential information - Setting up a question box.

  3. ⚠️Trigger warning 


"This lesson covers topics that can sometimes be difficult for people. Please let me know if you feel you need to take a break from the room.

Before we start, let's check that everyone knows where to go for help if you want to check anything that this lesson raises for you."

  1. laugh Ask students:

❓ Who are some trusted adults you can talk to?

(Possible answers: parents, grandparents, teacher, older siblings, doctor, other family members, etc)

yesTeaching tip: It is important not to tell students who their trusted adults are or should be. You can offer a list of suggestions of who they might be. For some students, some of the people you suggest, may not be people that are safe for them to talk to. Students should not be made to share their list of trusted adults publicly unless they wish to do so.

❓ Who are some people at this school that you can talk to?

(Possible answers: class teacher, other teachers, school psychologist, community health nurse, youth workers, etc )



"During the lesson we will also be learning about some services and online support that is available."


Introduction: Definition

Time to complete Introduction: Definition: 3 min

  1. Ask students what they understand by the term 'sexting'?

  2. Take answers from volunteers. 

yesTeaching tip: Students need to feel safe and supported in lessons on sensitive topics such as this. They need to know that they will never be called upon to answer questions and that you will only ever ask for volunteers for contributions.

  1. laugh Say:

"'Sexting refers to using a mobile phone or the internet to take, ask for, receive, send or share intimate text, photos or videos including where someone is naked, partly naked, posing sexually or doing a sexual act. These are sometimes known as 'nudes', 'sexy pics' or 'noodz' or some of the words that you have already said. They are also known in legal terms as sexually explicit images or messages, or intimate images."


Thumb quiz: Legal, not sure, illegal

Time to complete Thumb quiz: Legal, not sure, illegal: 5 min

  1. Teaching strategy: Thumbs up/down quiz. Ask students to indicate their answers:

    • thumbs up = legal

    • thumbs down = illegal

    • thumbs sideways = not sure.

  2. Read and display the following scenarios on the board (See To send or not to send PP_teacher resource - slides 7-18). 

yesTeaching tip: The language in the following scenarios deliberately limits the use of gender pronouns in order to avoid gender stereotyping who sends/shares images and to be inclusive of gender and sexual diversity. Students can make their own decisions about the gender of the individuals in the scenarios. 

  • An 18 year old girl sends a naked image of herself to an 18 year old guy she likes.

(Legal, but if he didn't want this, it might be sexual harassment depending on circumstances.)

  • A 20 year old girl sends a naked image of themselves to their 21 year old partner


  • A 16 year old consensually sends a nude to their 16 year old partner.

(Despite being of legal age to have sex, and legal under WA laws, this is illegal under federal laws which override state laws. If a person under 18 takes a naked picture of themselves, it can be considered creating child exploitation material. Sending it to a partner can be considered distributing child exploitation material. These laws are designed to protect children from exploitation however, young people consensually sharing images can still be prosecuted under these laws.)

  • A 21 year old shares the image of their partner with several of their friends.

(Illegal if they did not ask for their partner's consent to share the images.)

  • A teacher 'follows' students on Instagram and make personal remarks.

(Legal but breaches professional conduct. Guidelines for the Use of Social Media - The Department of Education.)

  • After breaking up with their 16 year old partner, a 17 year old threatens to send an intimate image of them to their mates.

(Illegal to threaten to send an intimate image (WA law) and illegal to send an intimate image of a person under 18 years of age (Commonwealth law).


Laugh and learn video - sexting

Time to complete Laugh and learn video - sexting: 5 min

  1. Watch Laugh and learn - sexting (2min 12sec). 

yesTeaching tip: CaLD students and students with special needs could potentially be confused between pimple popping and sexting. It is important for teachers to decide the suitability of this content for their students and to address any misconceptions that may arise.

  1. laugh Ask:

 What are some of the key messages from the video?

(Non-consensual sexting is disrespectful, harassment and against the law; issues can follow you the rest of your life - whether you send, receive or share an intimate picture; it is easy to lose control over who can see an image once it is sent; there are things you can do if you receive an unwanted sext.)


To send or not to send?

Time to complete To send or not to send?: 25 min

  1. As a whole class create a 'choose your own adventure' style flow chart using sticky notes. This can be created on the floor, on desks pushed together, on a wall or a window. 

yesTeaching tip: This activity should not be conducted in small groups unless there are enough adults to facilitate each group. This is vital to ensure students adhere to the group agreement (e.g. no sharing personal stories). Ensure all adults facilitating groups are familiar with protective interrupting techniques and how to deal with disclosures

  1. Provide each students with a small stack of sticky notes (or scrap paper).

  2. Guide students through the following steps either using the To send or not to send PP_teacher resource (Slide 20-33) or by reading the instructions aloud.

  3. laugh Say: 

Describe a scenario in which a person might be asked for a nude. This is to be a hypothetical situation so no names of people we know and no personal stories."

 What are the names of person A and B?

 What are their genders?

 How old are they?

 How do they know each other?

 What app/device are they using to chat?

yes Teaching tip: It is important to remember that students in the class are likely to have experienced similar situations either directly or indirectly and it is vital for everyone to maintain confidentiality and not to disclose personal stories of their own or others. Offer students the opportunity to talk to you (or another trusted adult) in private if they have any concerns they would like to raise. The question box is another way of offering students opportunities to raise issues privately. Students can indicate that they would like time with you, the school counsellor/nurse by placing a note in the question box and including their name on the note.

laugh Discuss some of the potential stereotypes:

 Is it always the guy asking for nudes?

 Is it always the girl being pressured?

 Is it always a heterosexual relationship?

  1. Write down the scenario and place it on the floor/wall where you will be displaying the 'choose your own adventure' flow chart.

  2. laugh Say:

"What might person B's response to this request be? Write it down on your sticky note and place it along side the scenario to show the different ways the conversation might develop."

laugh Ask:

❓ Do they want to send the nude?

 Do they feel safe?

❓ Is there trust?

 Do they feel pressured?

❓ How do they negotiate the situation? (diversion, humour, respectful, disrespectful)

 Do they consensually send the nude?

 Do they send a pic without showing their face or identifying features?

  1. laugh Ask:

❓ What might person A reply?

(anger, humour, pressure, respects answer and doesn't ask again, cuts off conversation, dumps person B, asks for more, call person B names for either sending it or not sending it)

  1. Have the students continue the potential responses along the 'choose your own adventure' path.

  2. laugh Ask:

❓ What might happen as a result if they send the nude or if they don't send the nude?

❓ What are the emotional consequences?

(May feel regret for sending it; may feel mortified if it gets shared with others; may feel OK about sending it; may feel happy/sexy/flirty/etc sending it; may feel scared; etc)

❓ What are the social consequences?

(Friends/colleagues might judge you; may end the relationship; may start a romantic/sexual relationship; may bring person A and B closer; may cause person A and B to fall out; excluded from friends; family fall out; etc)

 What are the ethical consequences?

(Is it ethical to ask for a nude or should you wait to be asked? Is it ethical to assume a partner would be OK receiving a nude image? If someone has shared nudes with lots of other people, is it OK to share the image? What if there is a large gap in the age of the people sexting? etc)


What the law says

Time to complete What the law says: 10 min

  1. Have students read the Youth Law Australia - Sexting webpage ( . This could be as a whole class, on individual devices or printed copies. 

yes Teaching tip: Ensure that the Youth Law Australia website is set to 'Showing laws for WA' so that the information displayed is accurate for WA. 

  1. laugh Say:

"It is against the law for ANY person to take, keep or share intimate images when it involves someone under 18.  It is against the law to share or threaten to share an intimate image of a person of ANY age without their consent. No doubt there are many people - adults and young people alike - who are unaware of these laws. Why do you think not knowing this information could be very dangerous for some people?"

  1. laugh Ask: 

❓ What are the legal consequences?

(If under 18, could be charged with creating/distributing child exploitation material; could be put on child sex offenders register; could impact future employment and housing options; could be fined or imprisoned; could be no legal consequences; may be completely legal; etc)

❓ Who could get prosecuted in each of the scenarios we looked at in Too send or not to send?

(Any that involve people under 18. Any that involve harassment)

❓ Who would get prosecuted in each of these scenarios?

(It is impossible to tell. Laws are designed to protect young people from exploitation but the laws are still written in such a way that young people can potentially be charged. The aws place the emphasis on non-consensual sharing of images, pressure, harassment and 'sextortion' - threatening to share images)


Where to go for help

Time to complete Where to go for help: 5 min

  1. View eSafety what is image-based abuse video (2 min 30 sec)

  2. laugh Ask:

 Where can a young person go for help in these situations? What can they do?

(Tell a trusted adult, block the person on social media, report it on the eSafety site, contact Headspace, Kidshelpline, a school counsellor)

  1. Show students the eSafety Commissioner website and go through the steps of 'What to do?' 

  2. laugh Ask:

 What strategies have you seen in this process that you might recommend to a friend who was in a similar situation?

yes Teaching tip: It is important to keep questions 'a step removed'. Asking students what they would recommend to a friend allows them to think of useful strategies for themselves without having to say, 'I would do this' which could make them feel vulnerable and/or potentially disclose personal information. 



Time to complete Reflection: 3 min

  1. laugh Ask students to share with another person:

 What is the most important thing you have learnt from doing this work on sexting?

 Who will you share this information with?


Take home message

Time to complete Take home message: 2 min

  1. Remind students of the take home messages:

enlightenedUnwanted sexting is disrespectful, harassment and against the law.

enlightenedSharing, or threatening to share, another person's sext/nude without their consent is image-based abuse and is against the law.. 

enlightenedThere are actions that can be taken and support available if you receive an inappropriate text messages and/or pictures or if your pictures are shared without your consent.

enlightenedSending sexts/nudes can have emotional, social, ethical and legal consequences.

enlightenedIt is easy to lose control over who sees a sext/nude.

enlightenedIt is important to think about potential consequences when making decisions about sexting. 



Take home activity

  1. Ensure students have internet access at home to access the Youth Law Australia - Sexting website or provide each student with the handout Western Australia's new intimate intimate laws: Frequently asked questions

  2. Give each student the Take home activity sheet: Sexting - To send or not to send?


Health promoting schools strategies

Background teacher note: Health promoting schools framework.

Partnerships with wider community