Young people warned of the dangers of sexting

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Young people are being warned of the dangers of sending sexually explicit images of themselves or others, known as sexting.

Being involved in sending explicit pictures, where the person in the picture is under the age of 18, can be a criminal offence.

It is all too easy to post pictures on social media and many children and young people will not realise what they are doing and how much danger they might be facing.

Edwina Harrison, Wakefield and District Safeguarding Children Board.

The ‘Think Before You Send’ campaign, which educates young people about the risks of sexting, is being backed by councils across the district.

It reminds people when they are thinking of sharing a photo, text or video of themselves via a phone, tablet or computer to always ask “would I be ok with anyone and everyone seeing this?”

An image sent to another person, can be shared with many other people.

Edwina Harrison, independent Chair of the Wakefield and District Safeguarding Children Board, said: “It is all too easy to post pictures on social media and many children and young people will not realise what they are doing and how much danger they might be facing.

“I hope the young people will seek help if they feel they are being pressured into posting explicit pictures or have done so without thinking through the possible consequences. Our message is very clear – think before you send – and if you are worried or frightened, seek help.”

Coun Olivia Rowley, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Wakefield Council said: “I whole-heartedly support this campaign for raising awareness of such a serious issue, and for advising young people on what to do if they need help. It is important that young people and children are aware of the risks of sexting.”

Councils and children safeguarding boards in Wakefield, Kirklees, Calderdale, Leeds and Bradford are supporting the campaign together with the Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson and the Crimestoppers charity.

Young people are being urged to call police on 101 if someone is trying to, or has forced them to send a sexual image and tell someone they can trust. This could be a parent or carer, teacher or family member.

To find out more visit www.westyorkshire.police.uk/sexting.

Young people can call also call Childline free on 0800 111. This number won’t appear on a telephone bill and is available 24 hours a day.