How Do I?

The widespread use of technology has made it more common for youths to be asked to send compromising photographs of themselves to their classmates or to strangers.

One recent study suggests that almost two-thirds of teenage girls have been asked for intimate photographs.


There are many reasons youths send these images:

  • Pressure
  • Promises of affection
  • Harassment
  • Threats to cause harm or to post other photographs
  • Entertainment

Many youths do not consider that anything they send to someone else can be forwarded without their permission. In a recent study, more than 10 percent of youths said they had forwarded a compromising picture without permission and almost 10 percent said they had an intimate photograph of theirs shared without their consent.

If you receive a request for a photograph:

   1. Send the 'It's a NO' image
   2. Close the chat

If the requests become repeated or harassing in nature:

   3. Document the request
   4. Report the request to an adult you feel comfortable talking to

Information for Youths | Information for Parents/Guardians | Definitions


Information for Youths

Sending intimate images* might seem harmless but doing so can have long-term consequences.

Photographs that you send of yourself can easily be sent beyond the person you intended to send them to. Anywhere you can post a picture of yourself, someone else can post a photograph of you without your permission.

They can be shared:

• On the Internet
• To social media (such as Facebook or Instagram)
• In text messages
• Via Snapchat

Those who could see the images:

• Friends
• Family
• Students at your school
• Students at other schools
• Future boyfriends or girlfriends
• Future employers
• Admissions officers at colleges or universities
• Strangers

Even if the photographs are removed from social media, many people might see them before they are taken down. A person does not have to share the pictures to cause you harm. They could use the pictures to threaten to embarrass you or to bully you into sending more intimate images.

It can be hard to say no to requests for photographs, especially if these requests come from someone you like or admire. But once you send the pictures, you have no control over what happens to them or how they are used. Even if the person you trust does not forward the pictures, if their phone winds up in the wrong hands your images could still be shared or used to threaten you.

Some ways you might be approached for intimate pictures:

• Someone casts a wide net asking a large number of females to send pictures of themselves
• Someone you are in an intimate or trusting relationship with asks for pictures
• Someone you do not know or have only met online asks for pictures

Take the decision-making out of the process by having this picture available to send to anyone who asks for intimate images of you.

If you receive a request for a photograph:

1. Send the 'It's a NO' image
2. Close the chat

If the requests become repeated or harassing in nature:

3. Document the request
4. Report the request to an adult you feel comfortable talking to and/or contact a school administrator or a police officer.

If you have already sent an intimate photograph:

Do not panic. Yes, these pictures can have long-term consequences but there is still a good chance someone can help you.

1. Make a list of everyone you sent the image to
2. Make a list of anyone who says they saw the photograph
3. Talk to an adult who can help you: A police officer, school administrator, or other adult you feel comfortable with

If you have received an unwanted photograph:

1. Respond immediately with the ‘It’s a NO’ image
2. Do not forward the image to anyone else
3. Tell an adult you trust right away and get direction on what to do from there

It is never acceptable to pressure anyone to send intimate images of themselves. Having or requesting intimate pictures of a minor is illegal and if you are found to be in possession of such images or have shared them, you could face potential charges including the possession and distribution of intimate images of children under the age of 18 years old (Criminal Code of Canada). You could also face consequences from your school district, including an automatic suspension and a board of review with the district to determine your future in the Abbotsford School District.

Information for Parents and Guardians

We all play a vital role in preventing youth sexploitation* and sextortion*. It is important to talk to your children about proper use of technology and the long-term consequences of asking for, sending or sharing intimate photographs.

Do not wait for something to happen with your children to talk to them. Have open conversations with your children about their use of technology and their online activity, even if you do not suspect anything has happened.

Signs that something has changed with your daughter or son:

1. Unexplained changes in their grades
2. Skipping school
3. Increased anxiety
4. Withdrawal from friends, family or social situations
5. Emotional outbursts

If you see signs of changes in their behaviour, reach out to their school counsellor to schedule a follow-up conversation.

If you believe your child has been a victim of sextortion or sexploitation, contact your local police.


Intimate Image – a visual recording of a person made by any means, including a photograph, film of video recording,
(a) in which a person depicted in the image
    (i) is nude, or is exposing his or her genital organs or anal region or her breasts, or
    (ii) is engaged in explicit sexual activity;
(b) which was recorded in circumstances that gave rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy in respect of the image; and
(c) if the image has been distributed, in which the person depicted in the image retained a reasonable expectation of privacy at the time it was distributed (From the Criminal Code of Canada)

Sextortion – a form of sexual exploitation that employs non-physical forms of coercion to extort money or sexual favors from the victim. Sextortion also refers to a form of blackmail in which sexual information or images are used to extort sexual favors from the victim.

Sexploitation - the commercial exploitation of sex, sexual attractiveness, or sexually explicit material.

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