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National Crime Agency's CEOP Command - Breadalbane Academy

A new campaign which aims to give parents the tools to deal with their children sexting has been launched today by the National Crime Agency’s CEOP Command.

The campaign tackles the issues which arise from young people sending self-generated nude or nearly nude images and videos – commonly known as sexting.

On average, the NCA’s CEOP Command receives one report a day of a child protection issue linked to sexting. This might be due to the recipient of a private message forwarding it on to others, a young person posting a revealing image on a website or social media with low privacy settings, or a young person being blackmailed by a stranger over revealing images they have been tricked into taking.

Zoe Hilton, head of safeguarding at the NCA’s CEOP Command, said: “We’re getting reports of difficult and sometimes harmful situations which have come about because of sexting.   It can start off as a bit of fun but the issues start when that image gets into the wrong hands. With smartphones and tablets, and new apps emerging all the time, this behaviour is becoming quite normal for teenagers. But it can be alarming for mum and dad who might not know how to help when things go wrong.   We’ve being doing a lot of work to educate young people about some of the consequences of sharing revealing images and videos. Through this campaign, we want to help parents and carers talk to their children about how to minimise the risks, and to make sure the right support is there if things do go wrong.”

The campaign features a series of informative short animations, which have been developed following a two-year research project with the University of Edinburgh, the University of Linkoping in Sweden and the German charity Innocence in Danger.

The research teams conducted in-depth interviews with young people in the UK and Sweden in an innovative study to discover not only why they send explicit content, but what it means to them, the impact of engaging in this  behaviour, and their advice to others.

Those findings have been turned into practical advice, which can equip parents to start potentially difficult conversations on the issue, and encourage their children to report any problems.

The films are available for parents to view at   , the NCA’s CEOP Command’s education programme designed to help protect children and young people from sexual abuse and exploitation.