Schoolchildren across Derbyshire have been warned by police of the serious repercussions of sending illicit images of themselves over text and social media.
Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles has written a joint letter with Detective Superintendent Andy Stokes, head of Public Protection for Derbyshire Police, to all headteachers across the county to increase awareness of the growing problem of ‘sexting’.
‘Sexting’ is the term used to describe a situation in which an individual sends or shares an ‘indecent’ image of themselves or another to a third party either using their mobile phone, tablet or other social media platform.
Commenting on the awareness campaign, Commissioner Charles said: “Both the Force and I have serious concerns at the prevalence of this kind of activity among teenagers across social media platforms, mobile phone apps and traditional text messages. Many, if not all, young people concerned have little idea that by choosing to share naked images of themselves or others on such media sites can have long-lasting ramifications.
“What might start out as a practical joke could devastate an individual’s social reputation, not to mention increase their risk of victimisation. It could also technically constitute a criminal offence, seeing them leaving school with a criminal record – with life-long implications for employment opportunities.
“I hope that with the support of local schools we can begin to address this disturbing trend and educate young people not to put themselves at risk.”
The letter also asks if children can be made aware that all websites and social networking sites are monitored by an administrator. If indecent content involving a child is uploaded onto the site – even if taken with consent – an administrator will automatically report this to the Police.
The warning letter, which will be backed by a poster campaign, has been purposely written in the build-up to the festive period to forewarn youngsters expecting to receive new technology including smartphones and computers as gifts this Christmas.
Pupils are being reminded not to let their new possessions get them into trouble. A ‘sext’ can last much longer than a relationship. In fact, once a photograph has been uploaded to the internet, it is virtually impossible to remove it, jeopardising the reputation of the individual for the rest of their life.
The message of the campaign is clear: ‘A Sext is for life; not just for Christmas.”
Anyone, whatever age, can get advice or support from the Police, teachers or organisations such as Safe and Sound if they are worried about these issues.
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Tuesday 25th November 2014