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Online Safety: Youth Produced Sexual Imagery & Sexting

Nude and Semi-Nude Image Sharing

Nude and Semi-Nude Image Sharing can be defined as sexual, naked or semi-naked photos or videos generated by a young person (under 18) of themselves; these images may be shared between children and young people directly via mobile phones, webcams or online. This is sometimes referred to by professionals as Youth Produced/Involved Sexual Imagery (YPSI) or “sexting”.

This behavior may be considered a harmful sexual behaviour, depending on the age of the child and the context in which the image was taken and shared.

There are many reasons why a young person may engage in this type of behaviour, for example:

  • Flirting or as part of a consensual sexual relationship
  • Attention seeking or boosting their self-esteem
  • Exploring their sexual feelings or sexual identity
  • Banter, dares and jokes
  • Peer-pressure or the misconception that ‘everyone does it’
  • Coercion, threats or blackmail

It is a crime to take, make, possess, show or distribute indecent images of any person below the age of 18; however it is important to recognise that criminalising children for taking and sharing indecent images of themselves is not in their best interests and should be avoided where possible.

Kent educational settings can contact the Education Safeguarding Service for advice on responding to concerns. If a child is at risk of harm, police and/or social care should be informed; please access our 'Reporting safeguarding concerns and making referrals' guidance for further information on how to do this in Kent.

For more information on how to respond to concerns, access the 'Sharing nudes and semi-nudes: advice for education settings working with children and young people guidance' from UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS) or Kent Safeguarding Children Multi-agency Partnership (KSCMP).