Humberside Police in Yorkshire have reported a rise in sexting between teenagers.
The organisation issued a warning to parents about the worrying messages, along with a number of tips on how to discuss the dangers of cyber sex with your child.
The police force has said that they have received ‘numerous reports’ of young people sending naked or semi-naked images to each other, sharing sexual content and sexting.
To combat the rise in cyber sex incidents in young people, Humberside Police issued a statement on their website to warn parents of the spike in this activity and encourage them to speak to their children about the dangers.
The statement read: ‘We’re urging parents to talk to their children about the dangers of sexting as it could lead to embarrassment, blackmail or even a criminal record.’
The police force recognised what a difficult subject this can be, but noted how important it is to communicate properly with your children about these issues.
‘We know talking about sexting with your child may feel uncomfortable or awkward but it is incredibly important to discuss the risks, teach them how to stay safe and explain how these reports can use up valuable police investigation time.’
To assist parents with this difficult task, the website also stated a list of six tips to try and guide families when having a conversation about sexting.
Tips include being careful not to accuse your child of anything and to use examples to make it clear how wrong these situations can go:
1. Don’t accuse them of sexting, but do explain the dangers and legal issues.
2. Tell them what can happen when things go wrong.
3. It may be easier to use examples, such as television programmes or news stories where sexting takes place.
4. Ask them if they&’d want something private shown to the world. Talk about the granny rule: ‘Would you want your granny to see the image you’re sharing?’
5. Talk about whether a person who asks for an image from you might also be asking other people for images.
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6. If children are sending images to people they trust, they might not think there’s much risk involved. Use examples of when friends or partners have had a falling-out and what might happen to the images if this happens.
These tips come after it was recently revealed that young people are using codes to cover up sharing sexual messages online.
Parents have been advised to learn the codes, such as ‘GNOC’, which means Get Naked On Camera, and to spread awareness to avoid adolescents being taken advantage of.