‘Sexting’, described as the sending of sexually explicit messages, through digital devices, primarily the mobile phone. A relatively new phenomenon, with the saturation of digital devices over the last few years there has been a marked increase in those who will openly admit sending in explicit or inappropriate image to another’s digital device of themselves. The concept can sometimes be difficult for adults to grasp that children might engage in this type of behaviour. However, a study released in 2016 showed that Irish teens were the fourth most prolific senders and receivers of ‘Sexts’ in Europe. Many young people see it as a normal behaviour as everyone is doing it.
By their very nature children will experiment, show me yours and I’ll show you mine, combine this with a latest trend of selfies, on top of the current negative celebrity role models who frequently post near and sometimes completely naked images of themselves, then you’re bound to have children who will not see the harm in Sexting. Children have been found to have sent ‘Sexts’ to people they only met online, they are Sexting boyfriends or girlfriends or potential companions. Some of the teenagers are sexting out of peer pressure. Many just do it for fun.
A number of Apps have also really contributed to the escalation in this type of behaviour among children and teens. Snapchat, which was openly referred to as a Sexting App has become incredibly popular with young users, despite the 13-year-old restriction. This App encourages the taking of Selfies and sharing of the images. What the App also leads the users to believe is that the image is deleted after a set time period. With this knowledge in mind children who are natural risk takers will undoubtedly engage in a behaviour if there is little or no chance that they will get caught.
What may seem as a bit of fun, taking a picture of their bum can quickly escalate and get out of hand. As there are Free Apps that can save an image to a device without the sender’s knowledge the receive may retain or worst case scenario forward the image to others. This can have a disastrous impact on the sender. Users fail to realise the gamble they take once they send an explicit, or inappropriate image.
There have also been instances where young children getting changed after a match taken and the image forwarded, can you imagine the impact that would have. Any image forwarded by can have a terribly negative effect on a person’s self-esteem, their reputation and may have deep psychological consequences for the victim.
Sexting has also given rise to Revenge Porn, this occurs when a consenting couple who have exchanged images while involved in a relationship break up and one of them decided to release the images to get back at the other. Again this can have an incredible negative impact on the victim.
Teens and young children who take, share or even have these types of images get a serious shock when they discover that the images are in fact illegal. The production, possession or distribution of images of a sexual nature of a child are considered Child Pornography in Ireland.
Some Advice for Parents
- The number one priority here is communication with your child. They have to feel confident enough to be able to have an open conversation with you without a fear of reprisal
- As a parent when you decide to provide a device to a child you need to set down ground rules and understand what type of behaviours are acceptable and what is not acceptable when using the device
- Discover does your child understand what Sexting is, have they heard of it happening in their school. Even at Primary level we are seeing children telling us they are aware of this happening
- Remind them that once an image is send it is there FOREVER
- Help them understand that they should never send an image that they might not want their Grand Parents to see
- If they ever receive an unsolicited image make sure they understand that it is ok to tell a trusted adult
- Have they ever received a Sext, for younger children an inappropriate image
- Have they ever sent a Sext, for younger children an inappropriate image
- Do they understand the permanence of an image and that there is NO CONTROL over where the image may end up
- Using real life examples of the consequences of Sexting may help, we have a number of videos on this topic available on our You Tube Page https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8eU6qs3Yu9ODW9nXYWRCyIexhcniw6gx
- Help them understand that they may end up bullied and cyberbullied
- Help them understand that may leave themselves open to be blackmailed or Sextorted as a result of sharing one image
- They may be prosecuted for the production possession or distribution of the image, and always remember that a deleted image on a device can always be forensically recovered in the case of an investigation
Internet Safety, Cyber Safety, Ireland, Children of the digital age, online safety
Welcome to an introduction on Social Media Platforms
Internet Safety and the protection of children online is at the forefront of
Social Media platforms are websites or applications for smart phone or smart digital devices that allow its users to post information, interests, photos/videos, idea’s. It also allows users to make social connections all over the world. We are all aware that there are countless different Social Media platforms. When we speak about social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are some of the most common and popular ones that immediately come to mind, where you can “Follow” someone or add them as your “Friend”.
The modern version of “hanging around on the street corner” by children is done online. Children, from the comfort and safety of their own homes, can engage with their friends in a digital social environment. Social Media is the most common ways for people, especially children to make social connections all over the world today. It is not unusual that a child would have more “Friends” on their Facebook page or “Followers” on their Instagram account than people they actually know in the “Real World”.
Social media is a great way for keeping in touch with friends and family. By simply posing an image or sending private message you can keep up to date with someone on the far side of the world. You can now video chat with them on Facebook, as if they are in the room beside you.
User Generated Content
Social Media is completely reliant on User Generated Content (UGC). Facebook for example, if no one ever posted any images, video’s, news articles, comments, Facebook would probably not exist. Social Media is reliant on its ordinary users to keep it going. Social Media is exciting for children as it can give them the opportunity to connect with famous people, their idols and hero’s like was never possible before.
By uploading an image, posting a comment or status update, the likes of Kim Kardashian could be saying hello to young person all the way from the USA. Rory McIlroy “Re-tweeting” something a Follower posted to him, to help to promote a charity event. A post advertising it may be “Shared” by a celebrity thereby gaining a larger audience. Even a famous sports name could “Like” an image that a child publishes of themselves wearing a team’s colours. The opportunity to contact with the famous is now only a single click away.
Never underestimate the power of social media to do good as well; we all remember the ALS “Ice-Bucket” challenge in 2014? This was a Facebook sensation, designed to raise awareness and charitable donations for Motor Neurons charities. Facebook users would pour a bucket of water over themselves, video it and post the video on Facebook. They would then challenge 5 of their friends to do the same, while making a donation to the charity. In the USA alone, donations to the ALS association increased from $23.5 million. In 2013 to over $115 million in 2014. Never before has the world been at our fingertips, like it is today. But with these great advantages, there unfortunately comes some inevitable dangers.
Online Safety, Privacy and Data Protection in Ireland
Children of the Digital Age, created to deliver Cyber Safety, Online Privacy and Data Protection information to people of all ages in Ireland. Our goal is empowerment through education. Cyber and Internet Safety issues, such as Cyberbullying, Screen Addiction and Sexting, are now only part of the changing and rapidly expanding Cyber landscape. Patents no longer want to attend presentations, to hear a single message repeated year on year. Getting parents to attend to these incredibly important information evenings are essential, to successfully educate people about the threats that exist in the online world. To encourage the attendance of more adults, we created a highly engaging presentation, featuring upto date information, many adults will not have encountered before.
Our focus at Children of the Digital Age, has never been about specific Social Media Apps or Privacy Settings. We strongly believe this information is readily available from a variety of sources online. Knowing this, we chose to identify the real hazards and current dangers which are making people susceptible online. Often, it is down to simple human nature. The issues we highlight have a direct impact on everyone, not just children. This is what makes us unique.
As issues arise online, our level of knowledge and awareness increases with it. We reflect this in the content we deliver. Since our inception, we have highlighted, the invasive nature of Apps and potential hazards of Social Media. A core elements of our Cyber Safety presentations is the misuse of Personal Information and Data. The knowledge we gain from research studies worldwide, and those whose primary function is Child Protection, are included our presentations. We have never relied on a single presentation format. Our content dynamic and constantly evolving. Addressing potential risks the moment they arise.
5 Star Quality Content
We pride ourselves on being able to deliver a very humorous, eye-catching presentations, which is captivating audiences all over Ireland. Be it for school children, parents, workplace or conferences, we receive incredible feedback from all those who attend. Children of the Digital Age have received a 5 star rating on Facebook from those who have attended our presentations. Children of the Digital Age are one of the few companies in Ireland able to meet the educational Online Safety needs of those with intellectual disabilities. We can design specific Cyber Safety content, programs and information evenings on almost every online issue on request.
If you are considering an Online Safety Workshop, Parents Evening, Community Group Meeting, Staff Presentation or need a Keynote Speaker, give us a call. We can guarantee our style, approach and content is second to none in Ireland at present.
For more information
Contact : 087 – 7485152
: 087 – 9175014
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org