6Talking To Your Child About Sexting

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The term 'sexting' refers to the sending and receiving of sexually explicit images via mobile picture messages or webcams over the Internet. Despite the fact that it is illegal to send explicit images of young people, ChildLine have reported a 28% increase in calls to their agency in the last year which have mentioned sexting.

Therefore, it is crucial that you talk with your child about the dangers of sexting and grooming online. It is important that you discuss with your child what is acceptable content to share and what is not. For example, you could ask them:

  • What could happen to the photos and video content you send? Who could see it?
  • Would you be happy for us or for other family members to view the photos and videos you send?
  • Who are you sending photos and videos to? Why are you sending photos to them?
  • Has anyone ever asked you to send private photos or videos to them?

If you explain to your child that the images and videos they send can be easily transmitted across the world and copied, then they will be more cautious with the personal information, videos and images which they send via phone or online. You should also convey to your child that they should not send any content which makes them feel uncomfortable, and that they should come to you if anyone asks them to do so.

Furthermore, it is recommended that you demonstrate to your child how to report or block users from contacting them via phone or online. For example, many messenger apps enable you to uninvite or block users. Review the owner's guide of your child's smart phone or mobile device for more information on how to block users from contacting your child. As well as blocking users, you can install various parental control settings on your child's phone. For example, network providers such as Vodafone, O2 and Blackberry host various apps which permit you to monitor who you child contacts. You can also introduce your child to resources such as the NSPCC helpline or ChildLine who they can contact for additional support and advice on a broad range of social issues.