Misuse of Phone

All modern mobile phones have built in camera and video features. As with sending or posting mean and hurtful messages the phone can be used to take, send or post online, inappropriate images.

Sexting is one way in which mobile phones may be misused and is defined as the 'exchange of sexual messages or images' and 'creating, sharing and forwarding sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images'.

Sexting often includes self-generated images. Once these images have been taken and sent to others, control is lost of them and they can end up anywhere. They could be seen by friends and family, a future employer, or even, in some cases, end up in the possession of an offender. These images can then make the person represented vulnerable to bullying, harassment or exploitation.

Tell your son/daughter that ‘if they wouldn’t print and pass these images around their school or show you, then they are not appropriate to share via phone or other technologies’. If they receive an indecent image or text from someone, they should not send this image on to others but report it to a responsible adult. 

If your son/daughter knows that an indecent image of them or a friend has been posted in the online environment, there is a need to contact the service provider, such as Facebook, or Youtube to have it removed.  You can do this by visiting their safety centres and following their reporting links.

Warn your young person that by sending indecent pictures of a person under 18 on to someone else your son/daughter is breaking the law.

If a teenager were to have in their possession an indecent image of another minor, they would technically be in possession of an indecent image of a child, which is an offence under the Protection of Children Act 1978 and the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

So called ‘Happy Slapping’ is another misuse of mobile phones. It's a form of bullying where people are attacked and the attack is filmed on a mobile camera phone. 

Attackers often share the videos with their friends, or post on websites. These assaults are not only hurtful and upsetting, but they are also illegal.

Anti-bullying charity Kidscape advises anyone who is attacked in this way to report it to a teacher or adult immediately and inform the Police. 

If your child sees it happen to anyone else, encourage them to tell someone as soon as possible, like a teacher, you or the Police.

Any footage found on mobiles could be used as evidence of the attacks.