Sexting and Snapchat

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The recent case of a 14-year-old boy landing himself a police record after sending a naked selfie to a teenage girl via Snapchat, has caused debate around the reaction by the school and police to the incident.

The boy who chose to remain nameless, was not arrested or charged, may have his name stored on a police database for 10 years with a record for the crime of making and distributing indecent images.

Get Connected’s CEO, Jessica Taplin, says: “…common sense has to prevail and in my opinion it has not in this instance.”

The real danger behind sexting is what it can lead to for the children involved – bullying, anxiety, abuse, intimidation and isolation, there a causal links between these issues and acute problems such as anxiety, depression, self-harming or suicidal thoughts.

Jessica says: “The age of consent laws are there to protect children; they are not there to prosecute under-16s who have mutually consenting sexual activity. Rather than focusing on persecuting the child, the school and police should be attempting to protect the boy by ensuring the image is deleted, and educating his peers so they do not share such images due to the pain and hurt it can cause.”

Sexting is a very real and potentially damaging issue. We have a responsibility to look at the society we have created and ask why it is so common amongst young people today.

Jessica continues: “I think this is caused in no small way by the over-prevalence of sexuality and soft pornography permitted in today’s adult culture. Rather than punishing children we need to address the question of why has ‘sexting’ become such an issue for today’s young people – the solution to this is openness, frank discussion and exploration – not criminalisation.”

The recently launched ‘i-rights’ campaign promotes the idea that children should be able to delete their online past, as the idea that a bad decision made as a child should stalk your future is counter-productive and daunting.
If you or someone you know is experiencing cyber-bullying, you can contact Cybersmile for advice and support, as well as read through their online resources. Childnet may also be able to help – with information on how to block people from contacting you, reporting harmful content and who else you can talk to for support.

Parents who are worried about their child falling victim to sexting can also find useful resources through Internet Matters.

This post was originally part of the Get Connected website. YouthNet and Get Connected merged to form The Mix in 2016.


Published on 04-Sep-2015