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Question for Department for Education

UIN 210260, tabled on 13 October 2014

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps she is taking to reduce sexting.

Answered on

20 October 2014

The safety of children online is a priority for the Government. As part of the new programmes of study for computing, e-safety will be taught at all four key stages. The programmes of study cover responsible, respectful and secure use of technology. They will also ensure that pupils are taught age-appropriate ways of reporting any concerns they may have about what they see or encounter online.

There is progression in the content across the key stages to reflect the different and escalating risks that young people face as they get older; initially relating to online content, then to the conduct of, and contact with, other people online. Pupils can also be taught about this topic as part of Sex and Relationship Education (SRE). The PSHE Association, Brook and the Sex Education Forum have produced supplementary guidance for schools to help them to teach SRE; this advice covers ‘sexting’, including explaining the law and pointing teachers towards further resources.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) has an important role to play. As a UK law enforcement body it can apply the full range of policing powers in tackling the sexual abuse of children. CEOP has also developed a specific educational resource to tackle ‘sexting’, which is designed for use by teachers, parents and young people.