Charity sounds alarm on primary school sexting

Young children are being asked to send nude images of themselves online, according to a new study.

The survey carried out by educational charity London Grid for Learning asked almost 40,000 children aged 7-16 about their online habits.

One in eight pupils said they had video chatted with someone they had never met in person, with one in ten of those admitting that they were asked to “change or take off clothes” during the conversation.

‘What everyone does’

A twelve-year-old girl said one of her fellow pupils “sent half naked pictures, because it’s ‘what everyone does'”.

A nine-year-old boy added: “My sister put a video of me naked onto Facebook… a woman sent me pictures of herself naked.”

The survey is thought to be the largest ever of its kind.

Self-harm

Respondents also said they saw high levels of violence on the internet, with some saying they had seen videos of self-harm and glorifying suicide.

Mark Bentley of the London Grid for Learning said self-harm was “an issue which stuck out” from the survey.

“We found it is a new tactic of bullying, with some children being sent instructions on how to self-harm.

“One in six said they had seen something which encouraged self-harm.”

Mimicking celebrities

Another report, released in April, found that children are increasingly taking and sharing explicit images and videos.

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) said this is a result of a copycat culture, with 11-to-15-year olds mimicking celebrities who frequently share naked photos and videos.

IWF Deputy Chief Executive Fred Langford said: “These are people they aspire to be in the future. It’s a very difficult thing to say ‘don’t act like your heroes’.

“The normalisation of this in the adult population is just being mirrored by kids.”

‘Very negative stereotype’

Last year, a pink neon sign encouraging young women to share naked pictures of themselves was removed after thousands of people complained.

The sign stating, “Send me nudes x”, was in a Kent store of the women’s fashion chain Missguided.

Following a campaign which saw nearly 9,000 people sign a petition against the message in less than 48 hours, Missguided covered the sign and later removed it.

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