Most high school students’ phones aren’t far from reach. And in many cases, those teens are using their phones to sext.

“Pretty much all the people I know do that. Most of my friends do that too,” a boy who attends high school in Winnipeg told CTV News. 

“Selfies of their private parts or sometimes an emoji,” he said. 

Sexting refers to sending sexual messages or images via phone or computer. These messages are sent through text, apps, and social media. Some sexts are obvious. Others are hidden in every day emojis.

According to Manitoba RCMP, its Internet Child Exploitation Unit receives a new report about teen sexting in Manitoba every day, and it has for the last eight years.

“On average, between five and ten new investigations a week from around the province,” Const. Gord Olson said, “We’ve had investigations involving kids as young as grade 3 so that’s about 8 years old.”

Most cases the RCMP deal with involve children between 11 and 15 years old. Const. Olson said both boys and girls sext an equal amount, but their behavior varies.

“The girls will get imagery sent to them and they don’t typically share it. They’ll delete it. Where the boys, when they get imagery sent to them from a female especially, they will keep that.”

A recent survey by the non-profit group Media Smarts found about 4 in 10 young Canadians have sent a sext and more than 6 in 10 have received one. The survey anonymously questioned 800 people between the ages of 16 and 20. Of the respondents who said they sent a sext, 40 per cent said at least one of their intimate photos had been shared without their consent.

Haley Fast, a senior Child Protection Analyst with said in 2017, her organization received 200 reports from across Canada of teens sharing intimate images with peers. Fast said two incidents per month took place in Manitoba.

“We’ve seen it happen in Canada where unfortunately it does lead to the person ending their life so it can have a huge impact,” Fast said.  

RCMP and are encouraging parents to talk to their kids about sexting.

More info can be found: