Selfies, Sexting and Sextortion

This week there have been a string of reminders in the news about the risks young people are exposed to through selfies, sexting and sextortion.

Just a week ago, news reports announced that the College of Policing was advising that not all cases of sexting should be reported as a crime. To avoid criminalising young people for inappropriate but generally naive behaviour, the report suggested that a ‘common sense’ approach be taken particularly in cases where the images are self-generated or obtained with consent. While the new advice has been largely well received, it remains to be seen how this will protect those involved, when a self-generated image gets shared beyond it’s intended recipient for example – and who has the responsibility for deciding what should and shouldn’t be reported.

A few days on, and a new online challenge emerged – the one finger challenge. This, the latest in the ‘online challenge’ genre, encourages people to take naked selfies in a mirror, using one finger to cover up their privates. It’s easy to see how this ‘challenge’ could be attractive to young people. It’s also easy to see how it can lead to regrettable and potentially upsetting situations for those involved at a later stage. There would no doubt be a considerable amount of peer pressure to get involved in the ‘challenge’, which could also lead to bullying for both those who do and do not take part.

24 hours later, Jeremy Hunt announced to the Commons Health Committee on suicide prevention efforts, that children should be blocked from texting sexually explicit images by social media companies. Mr Hunt urged technology companies to use software to identify and prevent inappropriate images being sent by under 18s. This recommendation has come under fire, suggesting that this form or ‘censorship’ could do more harm than good. And surely, this blinkered approach to an out-right ban on sexting for under 18s conflicts with the earlier advice from the College of Policing, who seemingly have accepted that sexting is part of current youth culture.

And lastly, on the same day, the National Crime Agency (NCA) reported that sextortion has increased. Sextortion is a form of blackmail, where victims are coerced into performing sex acts on webcams by fraudsters. The victims are then blackmailed with the footage. A substantial proportion of victims are aged between 11 and 20. This is a relatively new crime, but has already been linked to four suicides in the UK including one teenage boy. In response, the NCA have launched a campaign to give advice to actual and potential victims.

So, once again, these varying news items have brought to the forefront the issues surrounding the sharing of personal images online. The suggestions that have been made are likely to have mixed reaction and indeed mixed success. But ultimately, they all remind us that teaching children about these risks, must be embedded in online safety education.



Opinions will vary on the matters raised in these news reports and we welcome your thoughts using the comments section below.

Written by E-safety Support on December 01, 2016 15:30

Digital Kids Show 2016

Thousands of digitastic families set to descend on the Digital Kids Show this October half term at EventCity, Manchester


Digital Kids ShowIf you combine an awesome day out that teenagers and toddlers can enjoy with a much needed dose of coding, STEM, digital toys and e-safety advice, what do you get? THE DIGITAL KIDS SHOW!

On October 29th & 30th, thousands of Minecraft, gaming, YouTube loving children and parents will gather at EventCity for a day out like no other. Split across five zones, the event will showcase an unrivalled array of events and activities all included in the ticket price, making it one of the best value days out of the year.

There’s an awesome selection of child friendly games including a 40 Player MINECRAFT Hub, Gaming Bus, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, Retro Gaming and the latest Virtual Reality to keep fans of all things futuristic entertained.

Dads will love the Ferrari F1 Simulator and Bandai Namco’s Project Cards on Oculus Rift will bring out the Lewis Hamilton in anyone! There are prizes for the fastest lap in the next generation Scalextric Arc Air family tournament and if that’s not enough car action, 5 -17 year olds can take part in driving lessons in REAL cars – great fun and an amazing way to instil road safety from an early age.

Everyone dreams of launching the next big thing and if you are a budding app inventor or engineer then this is the show for you. The show has lots of activities to ignite the imagination and parents can get involved with kids as they get creative with robots, coding workshops and STEM toys and prepare them to be wowed by the cool Science Shows in our purpose built Explorer Dome.

E-Safety and Anti-Bullying workshops from the Diana Award and Internet Matters are an essential part of the show to help you keep your kids safe online and inspire them to be responsible digital citizens. Meet our friends from YouTube Kids and CBBC who’ve got some awesome surprises for our Digital Kids.

The Digital Kids Show also features some of the UK’s biggest YouTubers including LDShadowLady, AmyLee33, Ashdubh, Tomohawk, SmallishBeans & EthanGamerTV amongst others. They will be doing Meet & Greets and live shows on the stage. They will be joined by CBBC favourites Dick & Dom and BGT Finalists Mythical PSM and Boogie Storm!

Commenting on the event Aisha Tilstone said: “The Digital Kids Show is set to be the highlight of the October half term. We have everything every gamer needs to know right now and an insight from some of the industry’s leading lights. Even if gaming isn’t your thing it’s set to be an amazing day out for all the family. There’s so much on offer for everyone and the leading Minecraft players are sure to be a hit as they will be meeting fans and telling them all about the secret of their success. There is also an underlying message of Internet safety with a specific zone dedicated to it. This comes on the back of a recent report from OFCOM* which highlighted that there has been a fall 2015-2014 from 83% to 78% in the number of parents who trust their children to use the internet safely.”

The Digital Kids Show will be taking place 29th and 30th October at Event City. Visit www.digitalkidsshow.co.uk to find out more.

Written by E-safety Support on October 13, 2016 08:52

Engaging parents with e-safety

Why e-safety education must begin at home


NSPCC SurveyThe news has once again reminded us about the dangers children face online, with a recent report from the NSPCC suggesting that toddlers as young as one are now being targeted by online predators.

With 35% of 5-15 year olds now owning a smartphone (up from 18% in 2010) and 40% of the same age group and indeed now 15% of 3-4 year olds owning a tablet, access to the Internet from portable devices is easier than ever.

However, figures from the Ofcom, Children and parents: media use and attitudes report, state that as many a 73% of 5-15 year olds are using a tablet at home.

It’s clear from the figures above that there is a large number of children who don’t own a tablet but do use one at home. So let’s consider this in the context of parental controls.

When a parents gives a child a new media device, they are advised to set parent controls, privacy setting etc to protect their children. But what do they do with their own devices? The figures suggest that some 33% of young people are using a tablet at home which have perhaps not been set up for the child, but rather the adult and therefore not necessarily as well protected.

As if to illustrate why this may be an issue, a concerned mum recently advised that their 9 year old daughter had returned from a visit to a friend where they had been watching inappropriate content that they had found on the Internet while using the parents tablet. The parent had some understanding of parental controls, but had not implemented them on their own tablet properly.

In this case, the parent had a level of appreciation about the online safety of their child, but this is not always the case. During our recent e-safety seminar, the difficulties of engaging parents was one of the key concerns raised. In several cases, school events for parents were held with only one, two or three parents attending. Even when the events were held at drop-off and pick-up time, still attendance was poor.

As the summer break approaches, it is crucial that parents are made aware of their responsibility to protect their child online, be that while gaming, using the Internet, texting, emailing and so on.

To help engage parents, here are 3 tips that were discussed by teachers at the e-safety seminar:

  1. Carry out surveys and share finding with parents - Ask pupils which apps they are using, have they witnessed cyberbullying, do they understand the implications of sexting etc and share these findings with parents to illustrate issues within your school setting.

  2. Share video links with parents - If you show pupils an e-safety video in school, send this to the parents and ask them to watch it too to help reinforce the message. There are lots of great videos from NPSCC, CEOP, Think You Know etc

  3. Send news headlines and web links to parents - Allow them to digest the information in their own time. Drip feed information regularly to ensure that they are constantly reminded about online safety. All E-safety Support members can add the ‘News Widget’ to their school website.

If we are to accept that children as young as one are now being targeted online, it has never been more important to have parents understand that e-safety education must begin at home.

If you have any tips on engaging parents, or would like to share your experience with other readers, please email news@e-safetysupport.com.

If you would like further support on engaging parents, E-safety Support members can assess a bank of parental engagement resources including an online parent training course which can be issued via email and allows parents to take the course at a time to suit them.

Written by E-safety Support on June 23, 2016 10:43


Join E-safety Support

  • Protect your pupils
  • Support your teachers
  • Deliver outstanding practice

Recent Stories
Story Tags
addiction anti_bullying_alliance anti-radicalisation apps ask.fm assembly avatars awards bett Breck_Foundation bug bullying BYOD calendar censorship ceop checklist child child_exploitation childline childnet child_protection childwise ClassDojo classroom competition cookies creepshot CSE curriculum cyberbullying cyber_crime cybersmile_foundation cybersurvey development devices DfE digital_citizenship digital_footprint digital_forensics digital_leaders digital_literacy digital_native digital_reputation digital_wellbeing eCadets education e-learning emoticon e-safe esafety e-safety e-safety, e-safety_support #esscomp #esstips ethics exa extreemism extremism extremism, facebook fantastict fapchat FAPZ film filtering freemium friendly_wifi gaming #GetSafeOnline glossary GoBubble gogadgetfree google governor grooming #GSODay2016 guidance hacker hacking icon information innovation inspection instragram internet internet_matters internet_of_things internet_safety into_film ipad iphone ipod irights IWF language leetspeak lesson like linkedin malware mental_health mobile monitor monitoring naace navigation neknominate netiquette network news NHCAW nomophobia nspcc NWG ofcom offline ofsted omegle online online_safety oracle parents phone Point2Protect policy pornography power_for_good pressure PREVENT primary privacy professional_development protection PSHE #pupilvoiceweek ratting rdi reporting research risk robots safeguarding safer_internet_day safety SCD2015 #SCD2016 school sdfsdf security self-harm selfie sexting sextortion ShareAware sid SID SID2016 SID2017 smartphone snapchat snappening social_media social_media, social_networking staff #standuptobullying statutory_guidance Stop_CSE stop_cyberbullying_day stress students survey swgfl SWGfL tablet teach teachers technology texting tootoot training troll trolling twitter UKCCIS uk_safer_internet_centre UK_youth unplug2015 virus webinar website we_protect what_is_e-safety wifi wi-fi windows wizard yik_yak young_people youthworks youtube YPSI
Archive