Sexting On The Rise Among Under-16s: Labour has claimed that sexting among those under 16 is rising sharply, but that the UK Government is “refusing to protect the smartphone generation”.
Shadow Education Secretary, Lucy Powell, has announced that Labour is dedicated to statutory, age-appropriate sex education lessons in all schools in England.
Under the current national curriculum, sex and relationships lessons are compulsory from the age of 11, however, this does not apply to academies and parents are permitted to disallow their children to learn about select aspects of the subject. The Government has recently announced that all schools should have plans to become academies by 2022.
Labour also drew attention to the fact that the UK Government’s official guidance to all schools and academies on sex and relationships lessons has not been amended or adapted since 2000, a long time prior to when many of the smartphone generation were born.
According to Labour figures, which were gathered through a Freedom of Information request, the police in England have investigated in excess of 13 times more cases of sexting among under-16s than they did in 2013.
Eighteen out of England’s 39 police forces responded to the party’s Freedom of Information request.
Three years ago, in 2013, the 18 police forces who responded to the request investigated 51 cases of “sending or receiving explicit messages and images on a mobile telecommunications device” among under-16 year olds. In 2015, this figure had increased to 665 cases.
Labour has attributed the spike to the adoption of messaging apps such as Whatsapp and Snapchat. As well as this, there have also been reports of young teens lying about their true age in order to use dating apps such as Grindr and Tinder.
The Government have called on leading head teachers to create a plan for improving PHSE lessons in schools.
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