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Dangers of sexting highlighted in charity report

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Young people need to be educated about the dangers of sexting - and it’s up to adults to find ways of raising the issue - according to Brunel’s Professor Ian Rivers.

A new study by anti-bullying charity Ditch The Label shows that instances of sexting, in which texts and images of a sexual nature are sent to smartphones, are increasing and young people are suffering abuse because of it.

The survey of 2,732 people aged 13 to 25 years old found that 37% had sent a naked photo of themselves to someone else’s phone, and 24% had seen the image shared without their consent. However, 49% of participants said they thought sexting was harmless fun

The report also found that 62% of those surveyed had been sent abusive messages via a smartphone app, while 52% had never reported it.

Prof Rivers, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Ditch The Label, said the report showed young people weren’t taking their online safety seriously enough.

He added: “We need to educate young people about the risks of sending such images and of engaging with unknown others online and via mobile technology to ensure that the judgments they make are informed.

"It is incumbent upon us as adults to find ways of engaging young people in a discussion about their online safety in safe and non-judgemental environments."

The Ditch The Label Wireless report can be found here.