young teens nudes social media sending bad

The Social Repercussions of Teens Sending Nudes

Sending nudes has become increasingly popular with young teens, to the point where they may not wonder, “is sending nudes bad?” The combination of an underdeveloped adolescent brain and rapid hormonal changes paves the way for the instant gratification of sending nude pictures. Young teens have difficulty resisting the excitement and need for validation when social media apps like Snapchat, with messages disappearing after being viewed, make it easy, quick, and enticing to send social media nudes. 

Many teens have a false sense of security when sending nudes via Snapchat because they think the picture will disappear after it’s been viewed. However, as with anything sent over the internet, it is out in the digital world forever once it is sent. Additionally, Snapchat users can save photos or screenshots of the message and save them to their device. 

The social and legal repercussions of sending nude pictures are immense and far-reaching. The consequences can vary from social ostracization to criminal charges, but are often swift. This outcome is sad and painful for anyone involved, especially when most senders are usually insecure young teens who are just looking to be liked by someone. For these reasons, it is imperative to teach your young teens that sending nudes is bad for them and their relationships.

In this article, we will address the repercussions of sending nude pictures and posting social media nudes, as well as give parents guidelines for how to discuss this pressing issue with their children. 

Is Sending Nudes Bad?

Repercussions of Teens Sending Nudes:

Loss of control:

Once a nude or suggestive picture is sent, it is on the web forever. There is no such thing as a secure message or app that can keep these images private, even once the receiver deletes them. When young teens send an image, they no longer own that material. It can be found by skillful hackers and reused over and over again. 

The risk of forwarding and sharing:

Young teens often send nudes to someone they think they can trust. They may be in a relationship with this person or want to be. However, most nude pics are shared, forwarded, and sent to people whom the sender never intended to see the photo. The temptation is often just too much for a receiver to bear, and they show or forward the picture to their friends or people they are trying to impress.

young teens nudes social media sending bad

The Emotional Impact:

Regret, Shame, Self-esteem issues:

Once it is revealed that someone sent a nude picture of themselves, the sender is often shamed and criticized for the lapse in judgment. Teens can be very cruel and respond harshly to anyone who makes them vulnerable. Even if the picture isn’t shared, if it is received with little validation from the receiver, the sender can feel shame, embarrassment, and regret. 

The threat of cyberbullying and harassment:

Very often, when a young teen has shared nudes either on social media or to a specific person, they are subjected to cyberbullying and harassment. This momentary lapse in judgment will continue to punish them as they have to contend with hurtful, threatening, and cruel messages from people on the internet or in their schools and neighborhoods. 

Relationship and Reputation Damage:

Strained Friendships and Breakup Drama

Most young teens send nudes to strengthen a romantic relationship and grow intimacy between them and their partner. However, the action often has the opposite effect. While teens are curious and want to explore intimacy, they are often not ready for it when presented with the reality of being vulnerable with a partner. This negative reaction can cause the sender to feel rejected and hurt. Often, teen relationships break up or become strained after the intensity of emotion. 

Friendships can also be strained when the sender’s friends have difficulty being empathetic and supportive.

Potential impact on college admission and job applications

If the nude image was posted or shared on the internet, the chances of it turning up in a search for the person’s name are great. College Admissions counselors and Personnel Administrators are increasingly using the internet to search for candidates and get background information on them. If the sender’s picture turns up in a search, they will likely not get hired or admitted, even if the incident happened many years prior. 

Legal Consequences (depending on age):

Child Sexual Abuse Material laws:

Nude pictures of a person under the age of 17 are considered child pornography. Anyone sending, receiving, or forwarding child pornographic material can be subject to punishment under the law. Additionally, the sender can be listed as a registered sex offender and have further legal obligations and repercussions. 

Sextortion (blackmail):

Hackers and online predators are looking to make money off of another person’s vulnerability. If someone like this finds the sender’s nude pictures, they could be blackmailed by the threat of posting the picture. 

How to talk to your child about the repercussions of sending nudes:

Use empathy. Teens will often shut down or not listen when parents speak judgmentally or authoritatively. Remember what it felt like to be a young teen and the emotions associated with wanting acceptance from your peers.

Explain the risks: Be clear, but do not overstate and threaten. Educate your teen on the laws regarding child pornography and also discuss the potential social repercussions highlighted above.

Offer alternative solutions: Ultimately, young teens send nudes to build intimacy within a relationship. Talk to your child about healthy ways of strengthening a relationship, like through shared experiences and fun dates.

Create a safe space: Explain to your child that although you want them to be safe, you know they can potentially make a mistake. Encourage them to come to you with this information if or when it happens by telling them you will not judge them for it and will help them through any difficult time.

Set clear boundaries: Now is not the time to be vague. Set clear intentions and expectations for your teen’s behavior in this arena. Answer any questions they have about what is acceptable sharing. 

Navigating the teen world is especially challenging in this digital era. Having open discussions with your teen about sending nudes will hopefully keep them from making this costly mistake. If your child makes this common error, support them without judgment and help them cope with the repercussions. 

We can help! MMGuardian’s alerts and monitoring system can catch any inappropriate content or messages and notify you right away. Check out the MMGuardian Phone with built in parental controls. to give your young teen extra protection from the temptation of sending or receiving nudes. Click here to get your child an MMGuardian Phone today!


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