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Top tips for parents on managing sexting

Top tips for parents on managing sexting Credit: PA

Nottinghamshire County Council has issued some advice for parents about how to support their child online ahead of Stop Cyberbullying Day (17 June).

According to the County Council’s latest survey, 9% of children were involved in sharing explicit or intimate pictures. It was most common amongst 14 and 15 year olds.

The Council’s anti-bullying co-ordinator Lorna Naylor said:

Sexting is a major issue in probably all our secondary schools and is creeping into primary schools too, which is clearly worrying.

From our own survey, we know that many of those involved in sexting were blackmailed or pressured into doing it once or twice while some said this happened to them more often.

What’s most concerning is that some young people surveyed were not at all prepared for what happened when images got shared with other people. Half of the young people involved said they told nobody, although some reported it online.

– Lorna Naylor

Lorna has produced the following online advice for parents:

Advice to help prevent your children from 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