Principals given guide to navigate sexting epidemic
THE rise of the ‘send nudes’ culture is so rife in schools the Federal Government has been forced to step in, with the eSafety Commissioner and the AFP developing a guide to help principals navigate the epidemic among students.
The guide, available to all schools online, recommends all teachers be trained in how to handle sexting and warned to not “deliberately view the material” and to learn how to manage the device and when to engage police.
The guide will help principals deal with the sharing of explicit material such as “sexting, naked selfies or nudes” and will improve the quality and number of reports schools provide to police; giving guidelines on managing evidence to help the investigation process.
It is in line with the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which said schools were often failing to investigate and report incidents, and is part of a larger body of work to help schools create child safe environments.
eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said it helped keep information consistent within a fragmented education system.
Of the explicit image sharing reports made to eSafety, one-third involve children under the age of 18. The commission found a further nine out of 10 young people thought that sexting happened among their peers “as a kind of courtship behaviour”, and one in three had experienced sexting.
Ms Inman Grant said sexting was a “new kind of peer pressure” that had redefined how young people conduct relationships and that many young people now sent nudes as ‘second base’ before kissing.
Australian Federal Police acting manager child protection Marina Simoncini said:
“Creating, sharing, and storing naked or partially naked material of a person under the age of 18 years old can be an offence and may be considered child sexual abuse material, even if a young person has taken or produced the material themselves.”
The guide, developed by the eSafety Commissioner with the Australian Federal Policeled Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation and the ThinkUKnow program includes who to involve, where to report, how to deal with the material, and when to consult with police.