Sexting – understanding the culture of sharing intimate images amongst children and young people and the risks involved
THURSDAY 31 JANUARY 2019
COSLA CONFERENCE CENTRE, CENTRAL EDINBURGH
Held in advance of Safer Internet Day on 5th February, this one-day national conference will provide attendees with training on some of the key issues around youth-produced sexual images (‘sexting’) and consent, enabling them to use that training as part of their own work with children and young people on Safer Internet Day.
Amongst a range of expert speakers, Professor Ethel Quayle CBE will deliver a keynote address exploring her recent and ongoing research into coercive and non-coercive self-produced sexual images by adolescents. Jess McBeath will lead an interactive session on the risks and issues for children, young people and professionals, including exploring available educational resources such as those produced for Safer Internet Day 2019.
Using a mix of presentations and interactive roundtable sessions, the event will encourage participants to explore:
- The sexting culture amongst children and young people – what the evidence tells us
- Is sexting a child protection issue and when should the incident be reported formally?
- The impact of taking and sharing sexually explicit images
- The link between pornography and sexting
- Advice on the resources available for professionals and parents
- The legal landscape and the policing approach to children and young people involved
- How to provide young people with effective support and guidance in this area
|PROFESSOR ETHEL QUAYLE CBE, Professor of Forensic Clinical Psychology, University of Edinburgh and Director of COPINE
JESS MCBEATH, Online Safety Specialist, Lemon Tree Consulting
STUART ALLARDYCE, National Manager, Stop It Now! Scotland
MARY SHARPE, Chief Executive, The Reward Foundation
JOANNA BARRETT, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, NSPCC Scotland (Conference Chair)
Sexual crime figures have risen over the past few years and it is estimated that half the growth in all recorded sexual crime has come from growth in cyber-enabled ‘Other Sexual Crimes’.
Much media attention is paid to image-based abuse including sextortion, revenge pornography and upskirting/downblousing. However, as the 2016-17 Scottish crime statistics show, the issue of social media and mobile technology as a platform to exchange intimate images voluntarily amongst children and young people is becoming increasingly prevalent.
In 2016-17, there were 1,166 recorded cases of ‘communicating indecently’ and 1,030 cases of ‘cause to view sexual activity or images’. For cyber-enabled offences, the mostly likely ‘perpetrators’ were boys aged 16-19 and the most likely ‘victims’ were girls aged 13-15.
Research – including the SPIRTO and STIR projects – highlight that the sending of nude selfies is now one of the most fundamental aspects to many young people’s sexual development and relationships, with around half of UK children surveyed having self-produced sexual images.
What is not so well understood are the underlying reasons for why this has become the case and what the legal and educational landscape looks like in this challenging area.
As young people can be charged with offences for sharing images of themselves or others if they are under the age of 18 (with all the long term repercussions that includes), it is essential that those involved in their care and support can effectively guide them through this minefield.
Joanna Barrett, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, NSPCC Scotland
- Boys are more likely to hold positive beliefs about sexting than girls
- For boys the use of online pornography is also associated with sexting and negative gender attitudes
- Sex and relationships education needs to promote a critical understanding of pornography use and sexting among young people that recognises its abusive and gendered values
Professor Ethel Quayle CBE, Professor of Forensic Clinical Psychology, University of Edinburgh and Director of COPINE
“Sexting: normative sexual behaviour or a new form of child sexual abuse?”
- Sexting behaviour within the context of child and adolescent sexual development
- The similarities – and differences – between sexting and different forms of adolescent harmful sexual behaviours
- Some of the early findings from the Glasgow based ROSA project (Reducing Online Sexual Abuse) which is tackling problematic online sexual behaviour
Stuart Allardyce, National Manager, Stop It Now! Scotland
“Sexting, pornography and the law”
- Pornography’s influence on sexting
- Possible legal consequences
- Prevention strategies
Mary Sharpe, Chief Executive, The Reward Foundation
“Youth produced sexual images – developing approaches and responses for professionals”
- Examine the role of technology
- Scenarios to practice identifying, evaluating and responding to risk
- Relevant educational materials
- Key resources and sources of support for teachers and professionals across Children’s Services
Jess McBeath, Online Safety Specialist, Lemon Tree Consulting
Ethel Quayle is Professor of Forensic Clinical Psychology in the School of Health in Social Science at the University of Edinburgh and Director of COPINE. A clinical psychologist who has worked with both sex offenders and their victims, for 20 years she has researched technology-mediated crimes against children, collaborating internationally with government and non-government agencies in the context of research, policy and practice.
Recent EU-funded research examined the function of coercive and non-coercive self-produced sexual images by adolescents and NSPCC-funded research on deterrence of possession of images.
Ethel plays an active role in a number of government and non-government organisations and, in 2018, she received a CBE for services to the Online Welfare of Children and Young People.
Jess McBeath specialises in online safety and digital citizenship within a Scottish context. She works with organisations that deliver services to children and young people to improve their knowledge, skills, policy and practice around online safety. Jess is a member of AACOSS (Association of Adult and Child Online Safety Specialists), a schools Online Safety Mark Assessor and CEOP Ambassador.
Jess has been awarded the NSPCC Childhood Champion Award as Schools Volunteer for Scotland 2018. Her career spans the public, private and voluntary sectors and she has a degree in Linguistics & Artificial Intelligence as well as an MBA.
Stuart is National Manager of the child protection charity Stop It Now! Scotland. As a social worker he spent 16 years as a practitioner and manager working with children with problematic and harmful sexual behaviours as well as managing services for children affected by sexual abuse. He is the chair of the Scottish branch of the National Organisation of the Treatment of Abuse (NOTA) as well as chair of the NOTA UK and Ireland Policy and Practice subcommittee. He is an Associate at the Centre of Youth and Criminal Justice at Strathclyde University and a visiting researcher there. He is co-author of the book, ‘Working with Children and Young People who have displayed Harmful Sexual Behaviour‘, published in June 2018.
Mary Sharpe is CEO of The Reward Foundation – Love, Sex and the Internet. We are a sex and relationship education charity that makes the research behind internet pornography accessible to a wide public. The charity has been accredited by the Royal College of General Practitioners to run workshops for professionals on pornography’s impact on health. We highlight the challenges particularly for adolescents.
Mary runs workshops in schools and is currently piloting lesson plans and soon training for teachers. The workshops are supported by the EIS. Previously, Mary was an Advocate practicing in Scotland and in Brussels focusing on criminal law. Currently she is a board member of the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (USA) and has published on how internet pornography use can be a pathway into sexual offending.
Joanna Barrett has been NSPCC Policy and Public Affairs Manager in Scotland for the last five years, and has led on the development of NSPCC Scotland’s policy activity on issues like infant mental health, preventing child maltreatment and online safety. Previous to this, she worked in policy and influencing roles for the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the National Autistic Society.
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COSLA Conference Centre,
19 Haymarket Yards,
Tel: +44 (0)131 474 9200
By Rail, Haymarket Station.
Approximately 5 minutes walk.
By Air, Edinburgh Airport.
Approximately 15 minutes away.