NSPCC raises concerns over online image sharing
The rise of social media channels has normalised image sharing online. In fact, The NetClean Report suggests that more self-produced material of a sexual nature is being shared on social media networks than ever before. This week the NSPCC revealed findings that indicated 1,400 annual calls have been made to counsellors about sharing naked pictures and videos online.
This research precipitated what the NSPCC is hailing a ‘sexting epidemic’ that is sweeping the UK. Worryingly, nearly six in 10 parents have not discussed sexting with their children, despite the fact that 73 per cent of them believe that sexting is “always” harmful.
To limit this image sharing trend and avoid children becoming targets for sexual offenders, education is needed at two levels. The NSPCC has kick started this through the creation of its guide for parents on the topic of sexting. Ultimately, speaking with children about what they do online and learning about the platforms they are using should be akin to learning the rules of their favourite sports. This extends to knowing how to talk to them about sensitive topics.
But the education doesn’t stop there. It’s also critically important that youngsters receive the relevant education at school. Currently Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) is not compulsory, but NetClean supports the initiatives that exist to change this. After all, if children do not understand the dangers of inappropriate relationships online, how can we expect them to raise their concerns when problematic scenarios arise?