Sharing ‘nudes’ and ‘semi nudes’ is not something all children and young people do, but when it happens it can bring risks to their wellbeing.
Your response to incidents of nudes and semi-nudes will depend on the motivations, sexual development and behaviours that surround them.
Incidents can be split into two categories, which require different responses. You should always contact the safeguarding lead in your school if an incident happens.
Understanding the scale of ‘nudes’
While adults risk embarrassment if a ‘nude’ or ‘semi-nude’ photo they have sent to another adult is posted or shared with a wider audience, the implications for children are much greater.
Children and young people need to understand the risks that image sharing of ‘nudes and ‘semi nudes’ can pose.
How are images shared?
Images can be shared privately by a range of methods including text messaging (SMS) and WhatsApp but they can also be posted to social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. They may also be livestreamed on other platforms.
While some platforms have disappearing messaging functions, all images and content can be saved using screen recording software. Young people should be aware of this false sense of security.
Most social media sites have strict policies that prohibit nude photographs however, they are also clear in stating that they are ‘reactive’, i.e. they DO NOT proactively monitor all content that is posted on their platforms.
What goes online DOES NOT have to stay online
In image related incidents young people can have profound levels of anxiety. Hearing statements like ‘what goes online stays online’ is counterproductive in supporting young people. The fact is that images in most cases can be removed.Children and young people should be reassured that there is hope, and that the issue can be fixed. The quicker an image is reported the easier it is to remove.
There are various reporting pathways for removal which can be platforms themselves, law enforcement or charities.
The Internet Watch Foundation, together with Childline have a tool called ‘report, remove’.
This is an online reporting tool where young people (but never adults) can upload an image or link for removal.
SWGfl, in partnership with UK Safer Internet Centre have developed a tool called ‘So you got naked online’, which helps and advises young people (or a friend) who has lost control of a nude or semi-nude picture.