Sunday 17 December 2017

Children as young as six questioned by police over 'sexting'

Sexting is a problem in secondary schools
Sexting is a problem in secondary schools

Scott D'Arcy

Children as young as six have been questioned by police over "sexting", according to new figures.

More than 1,000 youngsters under the age of 18 have been investigated for sending nude or explicit images of themselves on social media or messaging services since 2012, data obtained by the Sun through Freedom of Information requests suggests.

The number of investigations into under-18s for making, possessing or distributing indecent images rose from 150 three years ago to 742 in the past year, while a quarter of those arrested were under the age of 13.

Read more: 'Sexting' is becoming the new norm for teenagers growing up, study finds

It comes after the National Crime Agency (NCA) launched a campaign in June, revealing it received on average one report a day of a child protection issue linked to the craze.

Children's charity the NSPCC said: "We don't want to see children criminalised. But while many of them may see sexting as harmless fun it is illegal and can leave young people vulnerable to blackmail and bullying, or attract the attention of sex offenders as the images may get shared online."

The charity has previously said its ChildLine service provided 1,300 counselling sessions last year for young people worried about sexting.

Last week, a 14-year-old boy claimed he was added to a police database after sending a naked picture of himself to a female classmate. The incident had been recorded as a crime, the boy's mother said, even though he was not arrested or charged.

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