Study reveals children as young as ten are sexting
Results of a study revealing sexual activities of young children and teenagers were published by The Telegraph today.
Some of the shocking discoveries include 12-year-old girls regularly agreeing to send or take pictures of themselves semi-naked or participating in sex acts.
Schoolboys were revealed to frequently send pictures of their genitals to girls.
Perhaps the most astonishing findings were those that revealed schoolchildren as young as ten years old are engaging in sexual activities and intercourse as well as sending explicit pictures of themselves to classmates and sending sexually explicit text messages, or sexting.
The survey was taken by Michelle Barry, who works for a Southampton Rape Crisis project in classrooms of Year 9 pupils with an average age of 13. Ms Barry stated that she asked one particular class of 13-year-olds if they had ever sent explicit photos of themselves and, astoundingly, every single child put their hand up.
Her study also showed that children are, on average, first exposed to pornography aged 11.
A schoolteacher interviewed as part of the survey claimed that pupils feel pressured into exchanging explicit photos and messages and they can even go so far as to search child pornography on the internet to find suitable images.
The sexual abuse leader at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), Jon Brown, said on the matter: “The regular and normalised consumption of hardcore pornography among young people has contributed to the explicit sharing of self-generated imagery.”
Ms Barry revealed that young people do not identify sexting and the pressure to exchange explicit messages and photos as a problem. She stated: “sexting is a huge issue and something we are hearing about more and more. Sharing pornographic images is common place.”
An NSPCC study last year found that up to 40 per cent of young people had taken part in sexting and specified that teenage girls in particular faced enormous pressure from classmates to send sexually explicit pictures of themselves.
The results of Ms Barry’s survey imply that children and young people in general are unaware of the risks of sexting and similar activities. One of the most common risks is explicit pictures being leaked to social networking websites or even uploaded to porn sites.
The NSPCC along with Barnardo’s and more than 90 other organisations are part of the Sex Education Forum that recently published a magazine informing teachers and school officials on how to deal with controversial topics such as sexting.