Dealing with sexting

If your child has sent or received a nude, get advice on what support you can expect from organisations and what you can do to resolve the situation.

What’s on the page?

What should I do if sexting affects my child?

Tips to help your child with a sexting incident and where to go for help.
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If it happens, a child may reluctant to talk about it, as they may fear humiliation, being judged, or getting their device taken away.

To help them through it, offer your support and try to stay calm.

Find out who the content was shared with initially, who it was passed to, whether it was done maliciously or was a joke gone wrong.

Your child’s school will be able to help you deal with the repercussions and support your child at school.

Search your child’s full name in several search engines and see what information and images are public.

If you suspect that the image has been shared with an adult, contact the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), who are the national policing lead for online sexual exploitation.

Social networking sites should remove an image if asked. If the image has been shared via a mobile phone, contact the operator who should be able to provide support.

If your child calls ChildLine and reports the image, Childline will work with the Internet Watch Foundation to get all known copies of the image removed from the internet.

Steps to take to support your child

Most young people don’t see sexting as a problem and are reluctant to talk to adults about it because they’re afraid of being judged or having their phones taken away. If your child has shared an explicit photo or video of themselves they may be very upset, especially if it’s been widely circulated. If you become aware of this, try to stay calm and reassure them that they have your support and you’ll help them by taking the following steps:

Resource document

So you got naked online…. offers advice to  young people who have been involved in sexting incident and don’t know what to do.

Download

Explore the facts

Find out who the content was shared with initially, who it was passed on to, whether it was done maliciously or was a joke gone wrong.

Contact the website or provider

Social networking sites should remove an image if asked. If the image has been shared via a mobile phone, contact the provider who should be able to provide you with a new number. Visit our report it page to get advice on how to report it on the most popular platforms.

Contact Childline

If your child calls Childline and reports the image, ChildLine will work with an organisation called the Internet Watch Foundation to get all known copies of the image of your child removed from the internet.

Call the school

Your child’s school will be able to help you deal with the repercussions and support your child at school. If the image has been shared with other children in the school they should have a process for dealing with it and will be able to help stop the image being shared any further.

Report it

If you suspect the image has been shared with an adult, contact the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), who are the national policing lead for online child sexual exploitation.

Resources to use together

Here are some videos you can share with your children which can be used to help them re-iterate the impact sexting can have on them and others.

Protect their curiosity – April’s story  – an example of how sexting can go wrong
Amaze.org explainer video to help kids understand consequences of sexting

FAQ: What is online sexual harassment?

Online sexual harassment is described as ‘unwanted sexual conduct on any digital platform and is seen as a form of sexual violence.  It can include a range of behaviours that use content online (images, messages, posts or videos) on number of platforms.

It can make young people feel:

  • threatened
  • exploited
  • coerced
  • humiliated
  • upset
  • sexualised
  • discriminated against

Accoding to Childnet’s Project deSHAME report,  online sexual harassment is taking place between young people as almost a third of girls ages 13-17 years (31%) have received unwanted sexual messages online from their peers (compared to 11% of boys) in the last year.

How can you support young people on this issue?

  • Advice your child to report it if they see it. Visit Childnet site to see how you can report on different platforms.
  • Tell them not to go along with it but call it out if it happens
  • Reassure your child that they come talk to you or a trusted adult or organisations like Childline to get confidential support. The Mix provide a support helpline for under 25s and Stonewall also offer advice to young lesbian, gay, bi and trans people to help them find local services.
Resource document

Project deSHAME research report  from Childnet – offers insight on Young people’s experiences of online sexual harassment.

See report

Where to go for help

If you are concerned and need help to deal with the issue with your child, here is a list of organisations that can support you.

Resource document

So you got naked online…. offers advice to  young people who have been involved in sexting incident and don’t know what to do.

Download
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