Dorset Police have continued their Sexting awareness campaign, as the number of reports in Dorset have more than doubled.
Whilst in 2016 there were 38 reports of sexting in the area, this year there has been increase, having reported 101 reports in 2017.
Dorset police claim that this ‘is likely due to an increased awareness of sexting.’
People are usually unaware that it is illegal for someone to take, send, receive or share explicit images of anyone under 18. Dorset Police say:
“Young people need to remember; when you press send, you’re not just breaking the law, you lose control of that image, where it goes on the internet and who sees it.”
Local people have diverse opinions on sexting and its critical consequences:
“There isn’t that much awareness about it, you don’t see people coming to schools or colleges or youth clubs spreading awareness about it. Many people might not think that it’s an important place to go into. Many people have gone into anti-bullying but no one goes into sexting.”
“Many people don’t understand the concept of sexting”
“It’s mostly younger people that need to be taught, because they need to aware that there are so many trust issues nowadays. If you’ve been in a relationship for quite a long time and you trust them, then it might be okay.”
Should the age of sexual consent be raised?
Many spoke up about the consequences of the different age requirements for consented sex and seeing sexual images. The minimum age for watching pornographic images and by extension, sexting, is 18, two more years than consented sex.
“I don’t think the age of consent should be raised. I think 16 is a good age, but I definitely think people need to be more open about it and talk, because it’s not something you can shy away from. ”
“I think the age of consent should be raised. I don’t understand why it’s so low.
“I think the people over 18 should be able to talk about it freely. If we talk about it to people of 16 years old you’re giving them the information to introduce them to sexting, but obviously social media is introducing them to it too.”
Through the campaign, the Dorset Police aims to advice the teenagers as well as their parents on how to prevent from resulting in serious issues.