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Pornography and the sharing of sexual imagery

The resources and information contained within this page will support schools in addressing the issue of pornography and the sharing of sexual imagery within the classroom. It is imperative that any materials used are appropriate to the age, needs and maturity of the pupils. As with all areas of relationships and sex education, schools must ensure that their teaching is congruent with the school’s values and ethos as well as agreed policies.

Home Office guidance on Indecent images of children: guidance for young people has recently been updated (March ’17). It contains a series of short films that highlight the serious harm that viewing indecent images of children can cause.

Useful advice on all aspects of this issue can be found in the updated:

Sexting in schools and colleges: responding to incidents and safeguarding young people, UK Centre for Child Internet Safety, Aug 2016

The above advice covers:

  • Responding to disclosures
  • Handling devices and imagery
  • Risk assessing situations
  • Involving other agencies, including escalation to the police and children’s social care
  • Recording incidents
  • Involving parents
  • Preventative education

The advice refers throughout to ‘Youth produced sexual imagery’. The rationale for this as the most accurate description of the practice is because:

  • ‘Youth produced’ includes young people sharing images that they, or another young person, have created of themselves.
  • ‘Sexual’ is clearer than ‘indecent.’ A judgment of whether something is ‘decent’ is both a value judgment and dependent on context.
  • ‘Imagery’ covers both still photos and moving videos (and this is what is meant by reference to imagery throughout the document).

Online Pornography and Young People – Children and young people’s version – this report examines young people’s experiences of seeing pornography and the impact it has on them. This version of the report is aimed at young people over the age of 13.

The NSPCC website has useful advice and information about online pornography, sexually explicit material and the associated risks for children and young people.

“Basically… porn is everywhere” – A Rapid Evidence Assessment on theEffects that Access and Exposure to Pornography has on Children and Young People from the office of the Children’s Commissioner.

Role of Schools in addressing pornography – PSHE Association advice for schools on legislation, policy and practice relating to pornography and sexual imagery.

Frequently Asked Questions – The PSHE Association provides answers to FAQs on pornography and sharing of sexual images in PSHE education.

The NSPCC have produced an Online Abuse and Bullying Prevention Guide (link opens in new tab or page) to help young people understand what constitutes abusive behaviour online, the consequences of that behaviour, and where they can get help. It includes the sharing of sexual images as abusive behaviour.

Infant and primary schools:

Effective relationships and sex education within PSHE can help pupils keep themselves safe from harm through building their confidence to ask for help, learning that their body belongs to them and giving them the language to describe private parts of their body. The Sex Education Forum and PSHE Association have advice and guidance on effective teaching and learning in relationships and sex education and PSHE.
The Digiduck collection has been created to help parents and teachers educate children aged 3 – 7 about how to be a good friend online. ‘Digiduck’s Big Decision’ addresses decisions about sharing unkind photos. The story book is available to read online at http://www.kidsmart.org.uk/teachers/ks1/sourcesDuck2/index.htm

‘I saw Alex’s Willy’ NSPCC Film and lesson plans aimed at younger children, key stages 1-2, which cover the importance of not sharing naked images.

KS2 developing personal filters – ppt presentation from the Citizenship Foundation.

KS2 developing personal filters lesson – Learning activities linked to the ppt presentation above.

In this animation from NetSmartz Kids,  Clicky, Nettie, and Webster race to stop Look-At-Dis Louie from spreading ‘bad’ pictures online. This is a helpful way of approaching the online pornography issue with KS2 – it talks about online images that make you feel uncomfortable.

Secondary schools

Sex, the Media and Pornography – A resource for teachers supporting the development of a scheme of work around pornography and sex in the media.

Nude Selfies: What parents and carers need to know (link opens in new tab or page) – Advice aimed at parents/carers about the sharing of sexual images including four films can be downloaded from the Thinkuknow website.

Fight Against Porn Zombies (link opens in new tab or page) – This is a campaign launched by Childline aimed at young people aged 12 and over. It contains a range of resources and links.

Consequences(link opens in new tab or page) is a film from CEOP aimed at 11-16 year olds. It focuses on the consequences of not keeping social networking profiles private. It addresses social media use, blackmail and the law. The film, lesson plans and a presentation are available upon registering. The film is also available at on YouTube.

Exposed’ is a ten minute drama that has been designed for 14 to 18 year olds. ‘Exposed’ deals with the subjects of sexting and cyberbullying, issues that teenagers commonly face. The film can be accessed by registering on the thinkuknow (link opens in new tab or page) site.

Tagged (Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner, Australia) Australian film resource with lesson plans and video interviews with key characters. 14+

First to a million is a CEOP resource aimed at young people aged 14 plus. “Ever posted something you regret? Find out how to get help when things go too far. You choose what happens in this interactive film!”

Lockers (The Irish Safer Internet Centre) An animation and six lesson plans including lessons on peer pressure, victim blaming and the influence of the media. 13+

ChildLine have created Zip-It, an app that provides witty comebacks in order to help young person say no to requests for naked images.

Digital Awareness UK and the Girl’s Day School Trust have developed resources to help teachers develop their pupils’ understanding of online safety – both physical safety and emotional wellbeing . Live My Digital is a series of 6 films for parents and 6 films for students on the following topics: Cyberbullying; The digital footprint; Identity and self-esteem; Relationships and grooming; Security and privacy; and Sexting.