A leading children’s charity has reported a marked increase in calls from children worried about ‘sexting’, according to a new report.
Nearly 1,400 calls related to sexting were received by ChildLine in 2015-16, a rise of 15 per cent on the previous year.
In a survey accompanying the report, the NSPCC found that half of parents and carers did not know that it is illegal for children to take naked or sexual pictures of themselves.
The report by the NSPCC, ‘How safe are our children?’ describes itself as “The most comprehensive overview of child protection in the UK.”
It defines sexting as “the exchange of sexual messages or self-generated sexual images or videos through mobile phones or the internet.”
The report noted that ChildLine carried out 1,392 counselling sessions related to sexting in 2015-16. This included calls that were made from children complaining about being pressured to share nude pictures.
Information on sexting was also viewed more than 180,000 times on ChildLine’s website last year, more than either bullying or self-harm.
Alongside the report, the NSPCC surveyed over 1,000 parents and carers in the UK on their knowledge of sexting.
The survey found that there is a lack of clarity regarding the law, with 50 per cent of parents “unaware” that it is illegal for a child to take a naked or sexual image of themselves.
More than one in four (28 per cent) did not know that it is illegal for a child to send a naked or sexual image to a peer.
Launching a new advice guide for parents to tackle sexting, NSPCC Chief Executive Peter Wanless highlighted some of the problems it can cause.
“Sharing nude selfies can put young people at risk of bullying by peers or being targeted by adult sex offenders.
“It’s vital that parents talk to their children and that young people feel empowered to say no to sexting requests,” he said.