Teachers across our region are to be trained in how to deal with pupils sharing sexually explicit photographs or messages.
Sexting, as it's called, is when people send suggestive photos of themselves by mobile phone, and it's becoming more prevalent among young people. The danger is that an image shared privately may not stay that way for long - and the damage can last a lifetime.
Here is some advice for parents:
ADVICE TO HELP PREVENT YOUR CHILDREN SEXTING
- Talk to your children about their ‘digital footprint’ and encourage them to make sure they develop a strong one that they are proud of and would be happy to share with anyone including future employers
- Reinforce the message: if you’re not proud of it, don’t post it
- Support them to resist the peer group pressure to conform to behaviour such as sexting. Your child needs to know they don’t have to participate - and if someone respects them, they will respect their decision not to send.
HOW TO RESPOND IF YOUR CHILD HAS SENT AN IMAGE
- If you child does send a photo, stay calm and reassure them that you are pleased they have told you
- Let them know you are going to help them try to delete the image and control the circulation
- Try to find out who they shared the image with initially and where they think it may have been passed on
- Inform the social media provider and report the image
- If it has been shared on a mobile phone within a text message, they may want to change their number to avoid unwanted responses
- If an image has been shared with other young people, you may consider contacting their families to ask them to delete it. If you think it may have been shared by an adult, inform Child Exploitation & Online Protection.
- Contact the school and ask for help and support
The MP for Cheltenham, Alex Chalk, has been approached by a number of his young constituents about the problem and its affect on mental health. He believes that social media providers should take responsibility.
Mr Chalk told Ian Axton that he is going to be holding a mini inquiry in Parliament.