‘So you got naked online…’ is a resource that helps and advises young people who may find themselves in a situation where they (or a friend) have put a sexting image or video online and have lost control over that content and who it’s being shared with.
Informed by cases received on the UK Safer internet centre helpline (POSH), we have adapted this resource to provide accessible information to help support young people (Key stage 3 and above) with particular vulnerabilities. This resource does not and will not be suitable for every child classed as having a special educational need.
Primarily the audience for this resource are young people;
Specifically, the behaviour we are working most to address is:
1. Constant and prolific sending of nudes to people without consent.
2. Constant requests for nudes from peers.
3. Lack of understanding around the potential impact both emotionally and lawfully when it comes to sexting.
This adapted resource is distributed as a guidance for professionals working with children or young people identified as having a SEND. The only appropriate way to use the information is by an understanding of individual needs and as part of a person-centred plan. The information in this booklet may be useful to aid understanding whilst further differentiation by the professional may be needed. It is not aimed at primary aged children, although the content may be helpful for adults working with vulnerable young children.
The content in the booklet has been shaped to provide more direct and instructional advice to suite the audience, whilst still maintaining a relatable ‘voice’. The resource can be used to guide conversation by the professional, or read independently depending on the abilities of the young person.
Whilst there is a lot of advice around preventing these situations in the first place, it is very important to recognise that this does happen and those affected really need support and guidance. We have also found that resources already available about this subject for special educational needs are often simplified to the point where children (especially with ASD) find the advice patronising and/or pitched too low. This resource is intended to fill that gap, providing advice and guidance in a way that is understandable and relatable.
We explain here what some specific words
used in this booklet mean:
‘Sexting’ means sharing naked photos or videos online. You might call it something else. It could involve flirty texts, naked photos, or videos. Often it happens between partners. But people also do sexting in groups and different online spaces.
Sexting isn’t always about sex. Some people use it to abuse, harass, and bully others. And sexting isn’t always agreed to. Sometimes people are forced by others to share a naked photo or video.
You might think you know what sexting is about. But you might not understand something that has happened to you as sexting. When sexting is in the news we’re likely to hear it’s bad. It’s often gone wrong and those involved are in trouble or upset. This isn’t always true though. Sexting can be quite complicated.
Most sexting happens in a healthy relationship. And both people agree to it. Maybe you shared your naked photo or video with your partner? And they shared theirs with you too? It’s when pictures get shared in other places that things can get scary.
Let’s say you shared your naked photo or video with someone. And they then shared it with others without asking you. You didn’t agree to it. So they’ve broken your trust – and the law.
Sometimes people share a naked photo or video without wanting to. Someone may have bullied them to do it. It might start with flirty texts. They then ask for a selfie. You send one and they ask to see more. And they say you can’t talk to them anymore if you don’t send anymore.
Or someone might start being mean and call you names. They then pressure you to send a more revealing photo or video. You might already have sent one. But that doesn’t give them the right to expect or ask for more. With sex and sexting you can change your mind
at any time. No means no.
X Ask anyone to send more naked photos or videos of themselves if they say no or don’t want to.
X Tell anyone that you won’t speak to them or call them names if they don’t want to send you naked photos or videos of themselves.
X Send naked photos or videos of yourself to someone if they’ve asked you not to.
✓ Ask for help from a teacher or friend if you’re worried about something.
✓ Be polite but firm if asking someone to stop if they send you naked photos or videos you don’t want to see.
If you’ve had alcohol or taken drugs, sexting by mistake is more likely. Also if people are pushing you into it. It might not feel like such an important decision at the time. These are examples of sexting by mistake:
Sometimes you might receive naked photos or videos you didn’t ask for or expect. From someone you know or a stranger. They might like you. And they think they’re flirting with you. They want your interest and hope you’ll send naked photos or videos in return.
Or somebody might send you a naked photo or video of someone else that you both know. Photos you’ve taken or shared might be revealing but innocent. Maybe they show weight loss, modelling, or swimming. Other people may then take them to share and cause trouble.
Celebrities have had naked photos and videos hacked, stolen, and published. It can happen to anyone.
These situations are complicated. But there are positive ways to handle them.
Sharing naked photos and videos in a safe relationship is not new. What has changed is the speed you can share them. And with many people at once.
Getting live followers and seeing your streaming numbers grow can be very exciting. But taking your top off or exposing yourself is not how you should attract more followers.
It’s easy for people to take a screenshot when you’re live streaming. They can save it. And then sell it to those sexually interested in children.
Getting ‘likes’ might make you feel happy, but don’t share too much. There are other things that people can like about you, such as your hobbies and interests.
Don’t expose yourself or share naked photos or videos to get new followers.
Do you trust the person you sent your naked photo or video to?
Mostly, people share naked photos and videos in a relationship. And the images don’t go any further. Even when the relationship ends.
But when people break up, we sometimes see a different side to people. Jealousy and anger may make people break your trust. They then act differently to normal.
You can sometimes trust the person you share naked photos or videos with. But you don’t have to share naked photos or videos with anyone if you don’t want to.
A good partner will be OK if you say no and will respect your decisions.
But if someone gets angry or upset when you say no, this is not OK. It shows they don’t respect your decision.
Be careful who you share your naked photo or video with.
Sometimes we add friends online because our other friends know them. But your friend might have added them because their friends did – and so on. Just because someone is friends with your friend, this does not mean you can trust them right away.
People sometimes meet their partners online. But you should do some checking before you trust someone you have no ‘real-life’ connection with:
It’s easy for anyone to use other people’s pictures and make profiles that are not who they really are.
What you can do if a friend needs to help
You might have noticed your friend is having a hard time. Something may not be right. Signs your friend is upset could be:
You can help them by:
Well done for asking for help. You’re a strong person. And this is the first step to getting this sorted.
Are you OK? You’ll need someone to help you. A friend. Or someone in your family or at school.
There’s a list of places at the end of this booklet that can help too. Sometimes asking for help is difficult. Make notes first to help you remember everything you need to say.
Will you get in trouble?
The law is on your side when you’ve made a mistake and want help. It’s there to deal with people who choose to trade or make money from sexual photos of children.
But the law was written in 1978 when mobile phones didn’t exist. Police and lawmakers today understand it wasn’t made for sexting and selfies.
If you’re under 18, a naked photo or video of you is treated as an indecent image of a child. But the police have said they will treat young people as 19 victims if their naked photo or video is shared. Only in extreme cases will it be different.
In 2016 the police launched ‘Outcome 21’. This allows the police to record a crime but not charge anyone if it’s not in the public interest. Remember, the police are there to protect and safeguard you.
If you’re worried about telling your parents, tell your school first. It might seem hard but your welfare is their number one aim. Your school will be able to help you and support you to talk to your parents if needed. And it will have trained staff who can also access other help. Telling your school is much better than dealing with it on your own.
Parents and carers
Telling your parents or carers that you shared naked photos or videos may be difficult. But they will help you, so it is good to tell them.
If you think telling them could put you in danger, first ask for help from someone at school. They may then need to tell your parents. But they will know how to handle things in a way that’s best for you.
IWF – the Internet Watch Foundation
This UK organisation is able to remove naked photos or videos of people under 18 if they’re hosted in the UK. If your naked photo or video has been posted online and you know where it is, you can report the link to the IWF. It will review the photo or video. If it is illegal, they will remove it.
CEOP – Child Exploitation Online Protection
This agency was set up by the government in 2006 to help protect UK children from online perpetrators. CEOP helps police forces to bring these people to justice. It can help provide advice to you and your parents when something like this happens.
You can report something to CEOP at: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/Get-help/Reporting-an-incident/
There’s advice for parents and carers at: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/Concernedabout-your-child/
Police may possibly need to be involved if what has happened is having a negative impact on you and other people, or there are any other worrying factors. They can also help you if you feel in danger. Or if you’re being forced into sending nude photos when you don’t want to.
You’ve got some help and your photos are deleted – or someone is helping get it under control. Now you can take a break from the situation to help yourself feel better. Here are some suggestions for what you can do:
1. Accept what’s happened
No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. Try to focus on what you’re doing to make things better – like asking for help.
2. Enjoy nature
Fresh air and exercise can help improve your happiness and feeling of wellbeing. It will also help you get a good night’s sleep.
3. Connect in real life
Have a break from social media every now and then. Use this time to meet up with friends or family – and keep phones out of reach.
4. Find some positive social media influencers
Follow people you think are inspirational and positive. You can learn good things from them and it might help you feel better.
5. Learn to love yourself
Try to find an activity or hobby that will make you feel proud without needing likes and followers online.
Mostly, posting more positive things about yourself online will help push away the content you don’t want others to see. But there’s no guarantee that others won’t see the pictures later. If this includes future employers, college, or friends, it could affect your reputation.
Most people will be understanding though. They know this could happen to anyone.
Do you know what’s online about you?
Check what others can see about you. Put your name into a search engine. Google doesn’t always show you everything. So try using others like ‘Bing’ or ‘DuckDuckGo’.
If you find anything about yourself that needs removing, report it to the hosting site immediately. It will need to break the site’s terms and conditions to be removed. If it’s a nude photo of you, it’s highly likely it will. The legal implications mean the site host is likely to remove it quickly once they know it’s there.
Bury the bad stuff! Increase the good stuff!
Sometimes you just can’t get stuff online removed. For example, if your photo is on a porn website hosted outside the UK. If this has happened, we recommend burying it.
The best way to do this is to set up social networking accounts and leave your name publicly searchable. You don’t have to use them. You can also comment on news articles and forums – three to four times a day if you can. Creating a short blog is also helpful. The more you post, the further down the search lists the unwanted photo or video content will be.
See related advice and practical tips to support children online: