Saturday 20 January 2018

Nicola Roberts calls for action to help girls tackle sexting in schools

Nicola Roberts has called for action to help children facing pressure over sexting
Nicola Roberts has called for action to help children facing pressure over sexting

Singer Nicola Roberts has accused the Government of failing young women by not cracking down on sexting in schools.

The former Girls Aloud star, who is an ambassador for children's charity Barnardo's, said she had heard many "heartbreaking" stories of girls who have fallen victim to online predators.

But while children are warned not to talk to strangers online, the pressures they face from classmates to send naked pictures is often ignored, she warned.

Writing in The Times, the singer, 30, said: "Sexting and child sexual exploitation are serious problems that David Cameron and his Government are simply not addressing."

She called for lessons in personal, social and health education (PSHE) to be made compulsory to help teenagers "navigate their way through society".

She added: "It infuriates me to see the Prime Minister treat this issue with such a lack of common sense.

"And I don't understand why the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan isn't publicly backing this change to the status of PSHE lessons.

"I've read lots of social media posts from Mrs Morgan in which she tries to empower women. And yet she won't fight for an education that keeps women and girls safe."

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said: "We want young people to be able to take advantage of the vast potential that the internet and social media offers to their lives and education. But we also want to make sure they are aware of the risks and dangers - including sending inappropriate images.

"That's why schools have a responsibility to make sure children know how to stay safe online and when using technology and social media.

"Good schools are already doing this well, and building on their work we're asking all schools to put in place stronger measures protecting children from harm online - including cyber bullying, pornography and the risk of radicalisation. The law is also crystal clear that where teachers find indecent images of children they must report this to the police.

"Alongside this, all schools should deliver high-quality PSHE, which is an important opportunity to teach young people about how to stay safe and avoid risks. To support schools to do that we have funded and produced a range of guidance and support on issues ranging from consent to internet safety."

Press Association

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