On Safer Internet Day, Hampshire Constabulary has released a short film, featuring a real life victim, to highlight the online risks of sending nudes.
The film tells the real life story of Megan, who at the age of 14 moved to a new school after being bullied at her previous school, and was desperate to fit in. Everyone wanted to be friends with the new girl and she felt on top of the world. Her social media accounts were going through the roof with all her new friends and followers. She didn’t think things could get any better, when she thought she’d caught the eye of a boy and they began chatting on social media. However, things weren’t as they seemed and she found herself being tricked into sending a nude photo of herself which were quickly shared around the entire school and beyond.
Megan was devastated but is now speaking about her experience to help warn young people and educate people about the dangers of sending such pictures online.
PC Maria Carrick said: “Together with Megan we have created three versions of our film, ‘Sending nudes: #ItHappenedToMe’. One version is aimed at young people, one at parents and one at professionals who work with young people to highlight the risks of sexting. We hope that hearing about Megan’s experience and how she overcame this difficult time will give strength and support to young people who experience bullying and pressure for nude pictures or naked selfies.
“We’ll be broadcasting our film on a range of social media and online channels, including Safe4Me, to get the message across to as many people as possible and will be sending the film to schools so it can be shown to pupils and staff. We will continue working in partnership with schools, youth centres, and others organisations to raise awareness.
“We encourage parents and teachers not to be afraid to talk to children about their activities on social media and explain the importance of privacy, and thinking before uploading content online, to prevent them from becoming both the victims and perpetrators.”
Those wanting more advice on this subject can use the Safe4me website. This is a free resource available to schools, colleges and parents in Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight as part of Hampshire Constabulary'songoing commitment to working in partnership with education and agencies to safeguard children and young people. You can find out more here: https://www.safe4me.co.uk/.