Sharing content online and across social networks is easy!
No-one knows this better than young people – they are the digital generation.

The government has now published some guidance to help young people understand the dangers of indecent images…

Instant – but lasts a lifetime…

The ability to take a photo, make a short video and post it to your feed, or send it on to someone, can be done in a matter of seconds – with a touch of your thumb.

But when it comes to the sharing of indecent images, that 3 second process can have implications that last a lifetime.
This is the focus of a new report from the UK Government, aimed at young people and the dangers of sharing indecent images online.

The guidance looks at the issue from a legal, emotional, and psychological perspective.

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The Law…

Justice statue

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto

OK, so first, the legal bit.
The report makes quite clear that it is against the law to take, make, share or be in possession of indecent images or pseudo-photographs of anyone under the age of 18.



What are pseudo-photographs?

The  legal definition of a pseudo-photograph is:
[callout]“an image, whether made by computer graphics or in any other way, which appears to be a photograph.”[/callout]


An “image” can apply to:

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Tracings and derivatives of a photograph
  • Data that can be converted into a photograph
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The report also provides additional detail to remove any potential vagueness around the definitions and phrases used.
For instance, the term ‘indecent’ will essentially cover any act or imagery that is deemed to be sexual in nature, whether ‘penetrative’ or ‘non-penetrative’.

  • “Making” an image – this can include accessing and storing such images on your computer or other device.

    Photo courtesy of ©?123rf/Ian Allenden (adapted)

  • “Sharing” an image pretty much covers any kind of online distribution, including:
    • Email
    • Peer-to-Peer
    • File-Sharing Platforms
    • Uploads to websites, social media or other online platforms
    • Instant Messaging
    • Any other kind of distribution


Helping Young People Understand…

The report has been published to help young people to understand not only that these laws exist, but also why they exist.
It stresses that it is illegal to look at, own, or share indecent images of anyone under 18 – and doing so could land you in prison.

Working with the NSPCC, the Internet Watch Foundation, or Marie Collins Foundation the guidance is designed to raise awareness among young people of the real and serious damage that these images can cause…

  • That every image is a REAL person and that viewing the image can contribute to their further harm and serious psychological damage.
  • That viewing such images carries implications for the person viewing them, AND to the people in the images.

These points are demonstrated via a series of short videos on the site. Check out the first one here:

They give the perspective of young people forced into creating such content and those who have been caught watching it.

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Final word…

The law is important. And there potentially severe penalties for those found to be in breach of it.

But the law (and government!) also needs to serve as part of the ongoing support to the next generation of adults.

By educating and helping young people understand the dangers and effects of indecent images online, we can all help promote a safer, healthier and more positive online environment.


Need more information?…

  • The NSPCC have also issued guidance. You can access this here.


Related previous posts…

Here are some previous posts on the thorny subject of online safety for teenagers:


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Pass it on…

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© Jonny Matthew 2017


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