This is a problem we can’t afford to ignore

AUDREY HEPBURN As she was in 1956       Picture: Bud Fraker/Wikipedia

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It’s certainly a modern scourge.
 And one that without a doubt will be shocking to many.

But as our front page lead today outlines, so-called ‘sexting’ is not something we can afford to ignore.

The police say they are seeing a huge rise in the number of investigations in this area and a charity is warning young people of the risks they are taking.

Any image could end up circulating around a school causing untold misery.

Or, in a worst-case scenario, the person who has it in their possession could be arrested, charged and end up on the sex offenders’ register.

And that is even if all parties were willing. If the pictures is on someone under 18, it’s illegal irrespective of where it came from.

Young people, of course, will be influenced by what they see in the news and on social media. Week after week there are stories of celebrities’ leaked indecent images.

So it’s hardly surprising that for some it might not seem an unusual thing to do.

But it’s a serious message that our story carries today. It’s hard to ignore the technology that everyone has in their pockets all the time.

But how it’s being used is something that definitely needs to be carefully monitored.

Young people are responsible for their own actions and must be encouraged to think about what they are doing at the possible repercussions.

But parents too must take some of the responsibility.

There are various safeguarding features on most phones and computers that mean this sort of activity can be much harder to do.

Yes, it’s never going to be possible to monitor youngsters and what they do online every minute of every day.

But the fewer of them who, albeit mistakenly, end up as sex criminals the better.

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