Sexting could get you a criminal record, even if you’re a schoolkid says police
WORLD / UK – Police have informed schools through a formal letter of their grave concerns of the sexting trend amongst students. Schools were warned that pupils who are caught sending or distributing sexual images run the risk of being placed on the sex offenders’ register.
Sharing explicit images of subjects under 18 years of age is an offence even if they are self-taken shots. A teenage girl received police caution for sending a topless selfie to her then-boyfriend. The boyfriend also received a warning for distributing the images to friends after the two broke up.
Another boy, who sent an intimate picture of himself to his friends as a joke, was also said to have committed an offence because he was under 18.
Police letter to be forwarded to parents
The police suggest schools forward the letter to parents of their students to ensure the message gets across. Being on the sex offenders’ register, even if it is temporary, will affect the youth’s chances of getting a job. The Daily Mail reported Detective Inspector Martin Hillier, from Nottinghamshire’s sexual exploitation investigation unit, wrote: ‘I have grave concerns over the amount of referrals Nottinghamshire Police are receiving on a daily basis in relation to naked images being sent between teenagers via either social networking, texts or mobile phone apps.’
‘If a person is aged over ten years and distributes (shares – even to friends) an indecent image then they can be arrested, charged and dealt with for this offence.’
40% of teachers are aware their students are sexting
In a press release by The Association of Teachers and Lecturers earlier this year, their recent survey indicated nearly 40% of education staff say young people they work with have viewed pornography, and half have noticed an increase in sexually explicit conversations among pupils in the last five years.
In addition, almost four-in-ten (38%) stated they were aware of pupils sexting. More than 40% said they had seen an increase in the sharing of sexually explicit content among pupils, and 17% stated they have noticed an increase in sexual bullying at their school or college in the last five years.
The full press release can be found here.
In a recent ChildLine survey, teenagers between 13 to 18 years old indicated:
- 60 per cent said they had been asked for a sexual image or video of themselves
- 40 per cent said they had created an image or video of themselves
- 25 per cent said they had sent an image or video of themselves to someone else
Sexting exposes the subjects in the photos to irreversible consequences. These photos are at risk of being widely distributed online, which could lead to humiliation, embarrassment and harassment. It may also result in sexual bullying, blackmailing and other distressing consequences. Once an image gets widely spread online, reversing the process and wiping all traces is almost impossible.