CHILDREN aged between 12 and 18 are fuelling sexting in Gibraltar, which Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP) Safeguarding Team says has increased since the start of the pandemic.

Detectives receive up to two reports a week of young people sharing indecent images via messaging applications or social media platforms, which DS Joanna Ullger of the RGP’s Safeguarding Team believes is due to ‘children spending more time at home and on the internet [during the pandemic]’.

Ds Joanna Ullger
DS Joanna Ullger of the RGP’s Safeguarding Team (Credit: RGP)

Members of the Safeguarding Team have also expressed their ‘concern’ about local children accessing internet sites such as Omegle, where strangers can talk to them in a sexual manner and share indecent images and videos.

“Sexting is not without consequences, but all teenagers make mistakes. There are ways for parents, schools, and communities to respond to sexting without criminalising youngsters and jeopardising their futures,” said DS Ullger.

“The issue is, once these pictures go viral, no matter how hard our officers try to erase all the images, there will almost always be one image still out there, and may resurface [in the future].”

The age of consent is 16 in Gibraltar, but the law against indecent images of children still applies to sharing sexual videos or photos of those (and yourself) under 18. 

DS Ullger added that in order to combat the issue they have been giving talks at schools to children, and training to teachers. Additionally, there have been sexting awareness videos posted on the RGP Facebook page.

For more information visit www.police.gi/information/cyber-safety/sexting.

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