A new survey has revealed that a huge number of young people have been sent a sex text or 'Sext', and the images are of both boys and girls exposing themselves or involved in sexual acts.
The pictures are circulated by email, text, bluetooth or added to social networking sites, said charity Beatbullying who carried out the research.
The charity also warns parents that their children could be bullied into taking explicit and potentially damaging pictures.
"We don't want to stifle young people's sexual development but it is important that parents and schools understand the rise of sexting so together we can act to stop sexual bullying," Sky News quoted chief executive Emma-Jane Cross as saying.
"Politicians must pool together organisations like Beatbullying to create an intervention and prevention task force in schools and the local community.
"This needs to be part of the solution if we are to educate our young people about the consequences of their actions and how to keep safe online as well as offline," she added.
The survey of 2,094 youngsters in England found that it was most often not strangers who were sending the messages, and that seven out of 10 of the 11-18-year-olds surveyed said that they knew the sender personally.
The study further showed that a quarter of the messages sent were from the youngster's current boyfriend or girlfriend.