Why on earth is the message in the poster below so important to get across – not just to teens but to really young children? Read on to find out more…
The online-safety messages of the past decade have meant that parents and professionals are now often aware of issues around teens being coerced or tricked into getting undressed or revealing themselves online (or doing so consensually as part of sexting).
However, there has been a lot less said about what needs to be said to the youngest pupils and why. We really want to get schools and parents on board to spread the message of this poster to the very youngest primary pupils.
You can read more details on page 22 onwards in our Hopes & Streams report, but here are some of the key points at a glance:
- Law enforcement agencies such as NCA CEOP (National Crime Agency Child Exploitation and Online Protection) have warned over the past few years of sexual predators tricking young children into getting changed or undressed on camera by playing a ‘game’ or issuing a ‘challenge’ to see how fast they can get changed into different clothes or into a swimming costume. This might happen over video chat or livestreaming apps.
- That’s why we asked the 40,000 children taking part in our pupil online safety survey if they had been asked to change or undress when using these apps and sites (read the survey report here). We found that:
- Nearly 1 in 10 pupils who video chat with people they haven’t met have been asked to change or undress
- More than 1 in 20 pupils who livestream have been asked to change or undress
- Internet Watch Foundation research has shown that 98% of publicly available livestreamed child sexual abuse images involved children aged 13 and under; 28% were aged 10 and under!
- If you are still unconvinced, read these case studies (also IWF) of real children affected by this abuse strategy (the youngest was 7 years old but even younger children can be affected.
That’s why we would love you to share this poster, put it up in your school and ask teachers and parents to add this simple message to the others already being communicated effectively to many primary pupils. You may want to explain to parents (send them here to undressed.lgfl.net if it is helpful) why this message is relevant to (especially) the youngest pupils who do not have the same mental capacity as older children to always realise when they are being tricked. You will obviously need to be careful how you approach it (and if you aren’t the designated safeguarding lead, speak to them first), but if the youngest children have already internalised this simple message, then hopefully we make a difference.