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back to article UK teens bullied into sending sex texts

UK teenagers are increasingly sending provocative pictures of themselves to each other in mobile phone and email messages, with some youngsters getting bullied or coerced into making explicit images of themselves. A survey of 2,000 UK youngsters by charity Beatbullying found that more than a third (38 per cent) of 11-18 year- …

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Joke

Simple solution

Childrens camps. They can be looked after by properly vetted professionals, they wouldn't need phones or (personal) computers. A healthy lifestyle of excercise, lessons and living with their peers 24/7, and at 16 they would come out perfect little citizens with RFID tags placed in their brains - just in case.

The upshot for us adults, no undesirable groups of hooded teens hanging around bus stations, no worries about inadvertently looking at a child in the wrong way, and no censorship of the internet.

It's win win.

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Revenge on the revenger, surely?

It must be pretty embarrassing having your ex-boyfriend emailing smutty pics to the whole classroom. But turning round and getting him a lifetime place on the kiddyfiddler register has got to win the 'revenge is best served cold' stakes, I'd have thought.

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Headmaster

Bullsh*t

Another charity obviously deciding it needs to justify its existance and wanting a cash injection to make its self fatter... In 99% of cases this just a modern version of copping a feel...

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Joke

@Tony

Damn good idea. This would also negate the need to have every potential parent screened through the CRB process just in case they became parents and therefore had access to children.

Since most child abuse is from parents or family & friends the removal of all children at birth to a place of safety would statistically remove the vast majority of abuse. surely.

Besides it would also remove the need for parents to have to put up with the consequence of their actions and put up with their own off spring.

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Punish the child...

..because you can't find the paedos. Great strategy!

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Anonymous Coward

goes around.....

@Iain 4

But surely the originator of the media (who then moves from participant to victim) is equally guilt of distributing...?

Cant have it both ways... if you put it out there... you share the responsibility/blame

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11-18 year-olds?

Why are these people grouping 11 year old *children* with 18 year old *adults*?

There is a *huge* difference between a 16-18 year old sending these images and 11 to 12 year olds sending them. 16 - 18 year olds are above the legal age of consent and, therefore, as long as the "sexting" is consensual I don't see a problem here.

The report also states "38% said they had received a sexually explicit or distressing text or email". But "sexually explicit" does not necessarily mean "distressing", how many of the 38% were *actually* related to bullying and not merely horny teenagers being, erm, horny with each other.

And the 2% from "adults"? AFAIK 18 year-olds *are* adults, so does this "research" mean that few 18 year olds are into "sexting" or don't these people consider someone who can legally drive a car, drink alcohol in a pub and have sexual intercourse an "adult"?

If they had chosen their age groups sensibly and differentiate between *wanted* explicit texts and *unwanted* bullying then it might have made sense, but as it stands this is just a bullshit scare story.

I'm guessing these people *wanted* shocking proof that children were getting involved in this sex-text bullying, didn't find it and so massaged the results they *did* get to make them look more alarming.

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Statistics

"Beatbullying said that in many cases girls, in particular, are bullied into making and distributing explicit pictures of themselves"

So what they're actually saying is the sexting is common, but bullying around it is so rare that it doesn't show up in the statistics?

You'll notice their other point:

"These statistics support Beatbullying’s work by providing further evidence to highlight that peer to peer anti-social/predatory behaviour is one of the biggest threats"

They do no such thing, they just provide evidence that it happens and is common; no evidence of a threat there.

Horny teenagers have always been fooling around. You could argue that doing it by mobile phone is safer, since there's no opportunity for it to get out of hand.

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Bullied into getting naked...really?

Im 23, so while I'm thoroughly past any urge to hand out in the park with a bottle of white lightning, I'm not quite ready to condemn all teens as satan's minions.

That said, I'm fairly confident that 99.9% of these 'sexts' are totally consentual - the 'bullying' comments are from those who are still too young to be able to recognise and admit that they made a mistake.

When I was in school we didn't have picture messages (which is a shame, looking back) but we sure sent our fair share of explicit messages around. Ultimately this is just an extension of that, and a really good learning curve for those who get bitten as a result.

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but

if they took the pictures themselves, they would also be put on the register as a perv.

Labour hard at work protecting the kids again.

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Punish the child...

... because the number of actual paedos at large in society doesn't match up the the figures the government requires to maintain it's policy of fear so they need another way to maintain the relevant terror levels and keep the position of paedo-hunter general open.

--

There, fixed that for you.

As for children's camps - I think it's a much better idea to have NO adults in them at all; without adult influence all children are, of course, darling little angels, so it would be fine.

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Anonymous Coward

History repeating...

There was a similar outcry a few years ago, when webcams and instant messaging became popular. Camera phones are just another instance of the same old same old, but in this case the devices are a lot more discreet, and have a lot less overview than the home computer - how often to the parents of adolescents inspect their offsprings' devices? And how many would be technically adept enough to find all the images and movies?

When you're young you do things with a lot less forethought than when you are older - that kinky photo is a chance to be bad and have a giggle, and you don't realise it would be currency amongst your peers - perhaps discussions of these issues should be brought into the curriculum?

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Modern day equivalent

Surely this is mostly just the '00's version of "you show me yours and I'll show you mine" that happens behind the bike sheds at schools?

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@ AC 11.20

Taking or holding pictures of anyone under the age of 18 is an offence. One of the many strange dichotomy's in UK law - you can legally have sex at 16, you can see as many naked 16/17 year olds that are willing to get naked for you, but heaven forbid you take a photo.

However, the general point is the mission-creep that has been happening for a few years now, in that there are many people trying to demonise anyone having sex under 18, even though it's perfectly legal.

Totally agree with AC @ 10.58 - this is a charity that's trying to gain QUANGO status and jump on that big ol' gravy train.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bullsh*t

"In 99% of cases this just a modern version of copping a feel..."

Ah, so you think sexual assaulting people is perfectly acceptable behaviour?

Or do you just think sexually assaulting women is perfectly acceptable behaviour? I'm fairly sure you wouldn't like it if I gave you a squeeze.

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@ History repeating

Yes, webcam child abuse is a big problem - the paedos wear special gloves, and get the children to press up against the screen so they can feel them up. It's a big problem, affecting an area of the internet the size of Wales. Something must be done, I tell you!

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Anonymous Coward

>Punish the child

>As for children's camps - I think it's a much better idea to have NO adults in them at all

They already have these, they're where donkeys come from.

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Happy

The BBC story on this

highlighted another issue.

Apparently, the 14 year old in that story was so mortified that she couldn't go to any pubs...

Erm, yes. Quite.

(I appreciate I may have taken it out of context of time passed, but the quote is there regardless)

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Re: History repeating...

>perhaps discussions of these issues should be brought into the curriculum?

Here's another thought, perhaps discussions of these issues should be done at home.

>how often to the parents of adolescents inspect their offsprings' devices? And how many would be technically adept enough to find all the images and movies?

Personally speaking, never and I do have the ability to do so. All our computers are in a single room and every member of my family has access to everyone's files.

Oh, and there is no need for a minor to have a mobile phone with a camera, problem solved, unless your'e one of those paranoid parents who thinks it's essential that little Johnny needs to be able to take a snap of someone who looks at him funnily.

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Terminator

With nicely targetted ads

EvilGav1: "this is a charity that's trying to gain QUANGO status and jump on that big ol' gravy train."

With a targetted ad from the NSPCC at the top, making the point nicely. This is the charity that Lord Lucas described as being "a malevolent force". They *are* a quango that acts as an extremist extension of govt .

Terminator for the malevolent force...

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Statistics

You seem to have fallen into the same trap as the rest of the media. All the statistics quoted (1/3 - 1/4 of pupils) refer to *receiving* messages, and as we've heard, one message/image can go around a whole school, surely the real statistic is the source of the image, that would show the number of people this is doing harm to.

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Flame

EvilGav 1 & AC: At least 33% taxpayer funded

At least 33% tax payer funded - £586,811 total incoming 2008, DFES: £90,000, London Councils: £107,300.

Nothing but another government funded pressure group.

http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/registeredcharities/ScannedAccounts/Ends31%5C0001097631_ac_20070731_e_c.pdf

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FAIL

FUD

"38 per cent of 11-18 year-olds have received an "offensive or distressing sexual image" via either text or email. These sex texts - or "sexts" - were most often sent to their school friends and often took the form of boys or girls exposing themselves"

They are trying to make it sound like most 11 year olds have dodgy pictures of themselves wild on the internet. It could just as easily be read as a third of 18 year olds have been sent unsolicited porn an un-named percentage of which was sent by someone they know, an un-named percentage of that un-named percentage was a picture of someone they know.

Yes it's a problem but these spun figures don't help to define it.

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Anonymous Coward

And the punishment is?

When I was in school in the sixties we just polished the policeman's helmet, sketched the outline onto a piece of paper, rolled it into a ball and slung it to the lasses across the room. And, with a few scabrous remarks added - it was dutifully slung back when the art teachers back was turned.

One poor bugger was caught - his punishment was to be hauled up to the front of the class and required to draw a horse upside down on the blackboard while we all cackled with laughter.

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Anonymous Coward

Doctors and nurses for the internet age?

exploring sexuality is part of growing up, it's only natural that kids will do so in an environment they are comfortable with, i.e. modern tech.

As for the stats, another example of bad science and poor reporting in order to make a story?

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Flame

I wish this was a joke...

So, obviously all of these people over the age of 15 need to be vetted as soon as they come in contact with other under 18 year olds, because they might have committed crimes of a sexual nature against juvenilles. Which means that CRB's need to be in place for every person in school (public or private) of these ages.

As there are obviously cases that someone as old as 11 might have a record (for possession of child porn; sending or receiving), other children and parents need to know this. And, the only way to do that is to ensure that a CRB is done, every six months, for every child over the age of 10 that comes in contact with any other child.

So, anyone in the school system over the age of 10 needs to be automatically enrolled in the eCRB system, and how about at a "discount" of £40.00 each. This is, of course, paid by the parent(s).

Program justification is a done deal and - Voila - budget shortage sorted, eh?

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Criminalising Children...

The problem for all these advocacy groups like 'Beatbullying' is that sadly there just aren't enough 'predatory paedophiles' to go around. Despite the increasingly hysterical claims made by groups like these (who - and let's be perfectly honest - make a fairly decent living off the back of the threat such individuals are alleged to represent) it seems increasingly obvious that these bogeymen just don't exist in large enough numbers to suit the swelling ranks of 'child protection' organisations.

Time to criminalise the kids, then. Mind you, the USA is way ahead of us on this - they already seem to have a frighteningly healthy appetite for jailing their teenagers for doing what all teenagers naturally like to do, branding them paedophiles and sex offenders for life. Nice. Just the kind of thing one likes to see in a healthy, liberal-minded democracy.

As others have noted: this is just another bunch of loud mouths clamouring for some 'meeja' attention so they can pimp their wares (such wares being, as always, irrational fear and a reminder of the 'single biggest threat' children face from all these paedos hanging around school yards).

By the NSPCC's OWN figures, last year in England & Wales 80+ children died at the hands of their parents or carers. In the same time period precisely how many kids were slain by homicidal sex-crazed paedophiles..? We don't know, since they didn't feel able to supply the numbers for that...

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Do I see an opportunity (and/or a threat)?

We have had face recognition, number plate recognition, OCR,.. What are you waiting for guys and gals? Can't think of an acronym? (OGR is too much like OCR, agreed).

Most expensive proposal to the Home Office wins - stands to reason that most expensive means biggest means best - such is nu liebore's greed.

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Big Brother

So in other words...

So... feminists have stretched all logic to find an explanation that makes the female protagonists the victims. If these really are the result of "bullying" they would constitute a serious sexual assault and the police should be involved. The current laws can deal with a crime of this nature.

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Joke

Evidence for the prosecution.

I actually concur this is a dangerous and alarming practice, and it must be stopped immediately before more pain and suffering is caused.

Current SO found a piccy of ex-SO's knockers on my phone.....

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FAIL

If only..

If only there was some sort of supervisory figure in their lives, an adult who could make sensible decisions like revoking the privilege of owning a cell phone if they did something inappropriate or even not giving a completely unnecessary device like a phone to children.

Think about it. If we were to introduce this system, these adults could do all sorts of things like keep an eye on the internet content these children are viewing and make sure that IM or text messages were age appropriate.

Some might think the cost of placing an adult with every family is prohibitively expensive, but you could make it worthwhile by expanding their responsibilities. You could have adults that do things like teach children how to behave in public or teach them to treat other people with respect. They could take on responsibilities like making sure these children learn a work ethic by doing things like homework and chores. They might even solve the problem of children playing adult video games underage thus taking away the need to prosecute video game store employees.

I know, you're all thinking where on earth could we find adults willing to do these tasks and even if we could, there probably isn't any incentive for them to do the job very well anyway if we can't afford to pay them. At least not if adults are anything like the children we want them to look after, which of course they soon will be.

One thing we can be proud of though, is that we've successfully taught our children they aren't responsible for anything they do, don't have to do anything they don't want to and if there isn't some sort of material reward, no need for them to do anything for anyone else.

Think about a world run by people with that kind of mindset, it's almost the ideal utopia of self absorbed free will. No, it isn't just a dream, we're on the verge of making this a truly awesome reality. Wonderful.

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Bronze badge

Fake Charities

There seem to be quite a few charities out there that receive virtually all their funding from the Government in order to lobby the Government to pass some law or other. There's some interesting stats on this site

http://fakecharities.org/

For instance, in 2007/8, Alcohol Concern got 57% of its income from the DoH with less than £5k from private individuals. Quite a few of these charities activities are dominated by lobbying with relatively little done in delivering services...

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Easy fix

Require every child in the country to have their social security number (or whatever you Brits use as a unique ID) tattooed in the immediate vicinity of their naughty bits - voila! instant identification of the criminals^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H children.

Otherwise - send them all to a nunnery ... oh wait ... that didn't work out so well did it?

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FAIL

Teachers confiscating pupils' phones

Now we know why.

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when all you have is a hammer...

An organisation called BeatBullying examines text messaging and finds... bullying!

That's about as surprising as a fundie looking at creation vs evolution and plumping for creation.

THEIR MINDS WERE ALREADY MADE UP

TOTAL BULLSHIT

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Go

Sexting ftw

Sexting ftw.

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re: Easy fix

"unique ID) tattooed in the immediate vicinity of their naughty bits".

Great idea. When you lose your virginity the finder can post it back to you!

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Stop

Something has gone very rotten

When did things go so badly wrong? Im 28 and never remember anything even close to this sort of thing happening, I didnt go to a great school but I never remember anything even close to this happening. I just dont understand how things can have gone so sour in such a short space of time :(.

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TEENAGERS INTERESTED IN SEX SHOCKER

Damn right they should be convicted as peadophiles.

Everyone knows the human body is a filthy, "offensive" image.

When I have my way we're gonna have cops in everyone's houses to make sure kids don't look at their own naked bodies in the mirror. Seeing something like that could seriously mess them up, and I should know, I've been sticking my nose in other people's business for years.

In fact, take away their phones and their PCs. The fact that children can communicate with people thier own age is sickening and deeply disturbing. sending texts could leads to terrorism and rap music.

Its a scientific fact that there were no peados before the phone or the internet was invented. its a complete disgrace. I'm glad the government is going to monitor everything we do.

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Coffee/keyboard

for just £3 a month...

This is alycia.. she's 12.. she's lives on the council estate down the road from you... last week, after a few drinks, her boyfriend made her take a photo of herself in her jeans and a loose-fitting jumper... for just £3 a month, you can help beatbullying fight against the sexual perversion of children... do it, or we'll tell the government you didn't.

here's a thought - if the kids are being bullied into sending something by text, can't they just send a text back telling the other person to p- off?

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Emo
Megaphone

How about

parents not giving there children (under 16's) mobile phones with camera's, or better still, mobiles.

After all, we managed to come home when we were younger without them.

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Anonymous Coward

Not in other words

"So... feminists have stretched all logic "

At least they're using logic. You've just plucked the feminazi scare fairy out of the air in some non-sequitorial man-flap.

"to find an explanation that makes the female protagonists the victims."

You are woefully, woefully misinformed of the way that many boys (and even men) behave towards their girlfriends. They do indeed bully, needle, cajole and threaten them into all sorts of sex acts. Many girls (and even women) will do things for their boyfriends that they don't really want to. Just because a woman is on her knees giving you a good time, doesn't mean she's a particularly willing participant.

Try to factor actual human psychology into your various models.

"If these really are the result of 'bullying' they would constitute a serious sexual assault and the police should be involved. The current laws can deal with a crime of this nature."

Like the way the justice system currently deals with sexual assault? ie. barely, if at all?

Your homework this week is to actually talk to the women in your life, rather than just thinking about their in and out bits. You'll find a large number have been raped, assaulted, abused, molested, manhandled, squeezed, perved at and otherwise utterly mistreated.

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re: Something has gone very rotten

"When did things go so badly wrong? Im 28 and never remember anything even close to this sort of thing happening,"

nothing's changed. you remember rightly.

the amount of vice in the world has been pretty much constant since forever - it's just the taboos around reporting it, and the comms tech for doing so, that changes.

and in this case - media/lobby group hysteria

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