Sexting and Cyber Bullying- Everything You Need to Know!

Unlike other forms of bullying, this can happen anywhere, anytime and it can be anonymous. As technology advances, so do the ways that people can abuse others. You can be in a safe space in your own home and still be targeted or affected by cyber-bullying. It can also reach a large number of people as messages and images are so easy to send and share.

It’s just a joke right? 

No….cyber-bullying can have serious consequences both for the victim and the bully/abuser. Something that starts as a joke could actually be very offensive or upsetting for the recipient. 

Cyberbullying includes: · sending threatening or abusive text messages
· homophobia, racism or sexism
· making silent, hoax or abusive calls
· creating and sharing embarrassing images or videos
· 'trolling' - the sending of menacing or upsetting messages on social networks, chat rooms or online games
· excluding someone from online games, activities or groups
· setting up hate sites or groups about a particular person
· encouraging young people to self-harm
· voting for or against someone in an abusive poll
· creating fake accounts, hijacking or stealing online identities to embarrass someone or cause trouble using their name. [/quote]

Cyber-bullying and the Law 

There is not a specific ‘cyber-bullying- offense but there are some UK laws that apply in terms of harassing or threatening behaviour. So bullying or abusing someone on line can be criminal offences under a range of different laws including the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, Malicious Communications Act 1988, section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 and the Public Order Act 1986. 
If you are a victim of cyber-bullying, although you may want to delete any messages, it is actually best to keep them as they can be used as evidence. Messages and emails have information that can help to locate where they came from so it’s important to save things and hand them over when you report it. You can also take screen shots of abuse that happens online to use as evidence.

What should I do? Top Tips! 

· Think before you send or say anything online. Remember that once it’s out there, it can go public really quickly and could be out there forever. Would you want anyone else to see it? How you would feel if someone sent this image/message to you?
· Check your privacy settings online, only give out your contact details to people you know and trust. Never share your passwords.
· If you are a victim of cyber-bullying, there is help and it is important to tell someone. Don’t be embarrassed or worried, the more quickly you tell, the more likely it is to get taken down and for no-one else to see it. You can talk to people on the student room, you can also contact childline on 0800 11 11 (it’s not just for children!). Your college or uni should also have anti-bullying policies and someone you can report to. And you can also report threats or harassment to the police.
· If you are being bullied on social media there are lots of ways to protect yourself and to report it – check out this link to find out how: · If you are being bullied via a mobile phone, there are also things you can do: 

Sexting ​ 

Everyone takes selfies right? What’s the problem?
Sexting is actually very serious and can have long lasting and damaging consequences for everyone involved.
'Sexting' is the use of technology to share sexual and sexually implied content. This content includes texts, photos of partial nudity and sexual images or video. This could be shared between partners, peers and strangers, (definition from Childnet).
This also includes pressuring someone into sending sexual images or engaging in sexual conversations, blackmailing someone who has already sent a picture (ie: ‘if you don’t send me another one I will put this one on facebook).

Is sexting against the law

If someone under the age of 18 engages in sexting by creating an explicit photo or video of themselves then they have potentially created an indecent image of a child. By sending this content on to another person, they have distributed an indecent image of a child. By receiving content of this kind from another young person, they are then in possession of an indecent image of a child. Don’t worry; if you have sent an image, the police are very unlikely to prosecute you. The law is there to protect you. You would be treated as a victim and will be supported.The emotional consequences - It can be really hard to control what happens to an image after you have sent it. You may think it is just for one person, but it could be easily shared. This can have long-lasting consequences. It can damage your reputation as it could be seen by future universities, employers, partners etc. It can also be very distressing and can lead to anxiety, low self-esteem and other issues as well as potential bullying and negative comments from others. 

If you are thinking about sending a ‘sext’ image…..ask yourself these questions: 

1. Why am I doing it? Are you being pressured to do something you really don’t want to do? Are you doing this for you or for someone else? If someone really cares about you and respects you they would not ask you to do something you were not comfortable with. There are lots of other ways to show someone that you are into them. Remember your body is yours and no-one else’s. You may trust someone now, but what if in the future they get angry or drunk? Or hit ‘send’ by accident…. 

2. What if I don’t do it? Are you worried that your boy/girlfriend may not want to be with you if you don’t send it? If so, maybe they are not the right person to be with anyway? No-one should pressure you to do anything you don’t want to, and they should not make threats about what they will do if you don’t go along with it. Even if someone has sent you an image, you don’t have to send one back. 

3. Would it pass the parent/friend test?! Would you show this image to someone in your family or your mates? Would you want it going up on a poster at college/uni? If not – don’t send it! 

4. Do you really feel ready to do this? Would you want to get naked or go further sexually if you were physically with that person? If not then maybe sending sexy images is not a good idea and could rush things. 

5. My partner sent me a sexy image and I just want to show my mates? Don’t. Simple. Sharing an image without someone’s consent is abuse and can be a criminal offense. 

6. If someone is pressuring you to send an image – how about sending them a clever comeback with this cool app?! 

But it’s already happened to me… what? 

First of all, don’t panic. There is help. Top Tips Tell someone you trust. Report it – if an image has been shared on a social networking site, there are ways to contact the site and ask them to remove it. You can find out how to do that for most of them here: 
Even if there does not seem to be an easy way to do that – you can report the image to childline who can then contact the Internet Watch Foundation who can get the image removed.

If you are being threatened or pressured, or are in danger – call the police on 999.
Report to CEOP – they help people who are being sexually abused online. This includes:
· Making you have sex when you donʼt want to
· Chatting about sex online
· Asking you to meet up face to face if youʼve only met them online
· Asking you to do sexual things on webcam
· Asking for sexual pictures of you
· Making you feel worried, anxious or unsafe

You can report to CEOP here: 
Remember – you don’t have to deal with this alone. If you are 18 or under you can call ChildLine on 0800 1111. You can also find more useful contacts and resources on the Anti-Bullying Alliance website. If you would like to talk about your situation anonymously, you might also find it helpful to start a discussion in the relationships forum, our relationship abuse forum or maybe our friends, family and work forum

Check out our ABW hub and watch a Q&A from anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label here! 

Read an article about bullying 

Share your experiences of bullying