Safeguarding young people from sexting

There has been a rise in the number of sexting cases among young people. Many more young people now have access to phones and social media accounts and are engaging in or are affected by sexting. It is much easier for them to send and receive explicit messages and images.

Young people need to understand what sexting is, sending sexually explicit messages and or suggestive images, such as nudes.

Sexting is illegal among children. If a child is under the age of 18, it is illegal for them to take a nude photo of themselves or a friend, as well as distributing them even though the age of consent is 16 years, the Protection of Children Act means it is against the law for a child to share a sexual image.

Images covered under the law include naked pictures, topless photos of girls, any acts and sexual images in underwear. If a young person is found in possession of any of these, has been sending them or taking these types of photos, the Police can record it as a crime.

One of the most effective ways young people can be safeguarded against sexting is to talk to them about it.

Ensure they know what it is, how dangerous it can be and what the results of engaging in sexting are. This could help them make the right choice. If you do find that your child has been sexting, it is possible to get the images removed by contacting the Internet Watch Foundation, which will search for any explicit photos or videos of your child in order to protect them from possible ramifications.

To see how the Internet Watch Foundation can help, visit their website here: www.iwf.org.uk

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