SEXUALLY explicit photographs traded by East Lancashire youngsters could lead to bullying, harrassment and intimidation, a top cop warned.
Young people ‘sexting’, the act of sending explicit text messages and photographs to peers, also risk becoming the target of paedophiles, head of protection at Lancashire Police, Det Supt Ian Critchley said.
The warning came today on Safer Internet Day, and ahead of a live web chat later this week.
He said: “It is always important young people remember that what they send to someone thinking it is private can be forwarded on to others without their consent, and may be used against them at a later date to bully, harass and intimidate them.
“The person who you send messages or pictures to may not always be who they say they are as well, and so, I would encourage young people to be mindful of this so they don’t potentially send something they may regret later.”
The police joined forces with Lancashire Safeguarding Children’s Board, Lancashire County Council and Lancashire Young Peoples Service to highlight internet safety.
And officers have been visiting schools across the county to give talks to pupils.
Last week it emerged that a 13-year-old boy, from Blackburn, had raped his eight-year-old sister after watching pornography on a friend's Xbox.
Det Supt Critchley said: “Unfortunately, we have seen over recent years that the internet has become an ever-increasing method by which offenders seek to meet, groom and then sexually exploit young people.
"As such, we would ask all parents, carers and teachers to make they know what their children, or children in their care, are doing on the internet and who they are talking to.”
The web chat will be hosted between 11.35am and 1pm at www.trusted2know.co.uk/web-chat, and will provide an opportunity for schools to ask direct questions to officers and agency partners about their e-safety concerns, the different types of online crimes that exist, and steps they can take to stay safe online.