Britain’s school children are caught up in a ‘sexting crisis’, according to a revealing newspaper investigation.
It’s believed tens of thousands of children have been sharing sexual imagery with members of staff and even convicted paedophiles.
The investigation by The Times, found that children as young as 12 have sent topless photos to their classmates, while one in ten pupils have sexted a ‘non-school adult’, FOI data from 50 secondary schools showed.
They found that a third of all cases involved children aged between 12 and 13.
Former culture secretary, Maria Miller – who also chairs the women and equalities select committee – has now called on the Government to bring mandatory sex education into schools.
Speaking to The Times, she said:
There has been historically a very negative attitude to making sex education compulsory from the government, but I think the tide is turning.I have changed my position on it. I used to think it should be schools who decide what’s appropriate but the way the internet is impacting on young people’s lives – and particularly young girls – leaves them in need of far greater support. We have to make sure that we have teachers and organisations who are specialists in these areas to be able to tackle it properly.
She also insisted that the Government should make it law for schools to report any sexting by anyone under 18 to the police.
50 schools were involved in the investigation and were asked to provide all case details of sexting since 2012. This identified over 1,200 pupils who had either sent or received indecent images via a mobile phone, webcam, or digital camera.
This information was then used to estimate a more national figure, which suggests that over 44,000 secondary school children have been caught sexting over the last three years. The figure may be even higher as they only include cases reported to the schools.
Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan said:
We want young people to be able to take advantage of the vast potential that the internet and social media offers to their lives and education. But we also want to make sure they are aware of the risks and dangers – including sending inappropriate images. That’s why schools have a responsibility to make sure children know how to stay safe online and when using technology and social media.
This is a seriously worrying sign of what it’s like to be a child in this day and age.