NSPCC and LGfL Digisafe research on children’s experiences online

Posted on 12 September 2018

The NSPCC and LGfL Digisafe have released the first Snapshot from a survey of almost 40,000 7-16 year-olds, exploring their experiences online. This snapshot looks at children sending and receiving sexual messages.

Of the primary school children surveyed:

  • 1 in 25 had been sent or shown a naked or semi-naked image by an adult
  • 1 in 20 had been sent a naked or semi-naked image by another young person

Of the secondary school children surveyed:

  • 1 in every 20 had been sent or shown a naked or semi-naked image by an adult
  • 1 in 8 had been sent or shown a naked or semi-naked image by another young person

It also references our Project deSHAME research across UK, Denmark and Hungary which looks at peer-based online sexual harassment amongst 13-17s. It found that 12% of UK teens had shared images of themselves because they felt pressured to do so and 10% had sent a sexual message or image to someone so they didn’t have to do more sexual things ‘for real’.

As one of the young people we interviewed said, “Like if the person sends a nude picture to someone, then they expect to have something in return” – Boy, 13-14 years, Denmark

The research shows the importance of education and open and regular conversations with children and young people about sending, receiving and responding to sexual content online. Whether you are a parent, carer, or teacher, the online world can at times feel overwhelming. Our work at Childnet is to help raise awareness of online issues and provide practical advice and guidance on how to educate and talk to children about difficult topics.

Below you can find resources, advice and places you can report illegal content.

Advice and support

  • Hot Topics for Parents and Carers on issues such as sexting, grooming, livestreaming and video chat and webcams
  • Trust Me is a teaching resource exploring critical thinking. Lesson 2 specifically looks at contact. 
  • Picture This is a drama resource about sexting which includes a 25-minute play script, supporting lesson plans and lesson guidance films. 
  • Just Send it is a PSHE accredited lesson plan, film and teacher guidance about the pressures on young people to send sexual images of themselves.
  • IWF  is where you can make an anonymous report of any child sexual abuse content found online.
  • CEOP, if you are worried about online sexual abuse or the way someone has been communicating to a child online.
  • Professional Online Safety Helpline - if you are a professional working with young people and have an online concern.
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