What is Online -safety?
E-safety is about the protection of children whilst they are using the internet and digital technologies. This includes: risk-taking and inappropriate behaviour by children and young people; risks and inappropriate behaviour by others to children and young people; illegal activity.
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The law on sexting
Much of the complexity in responding to youth produced sexual imagery is due to its legal status. Making, possessing and distributing any imagery of someone under
18 which is ‘indecent’ is illegal. This includes imagery of yourself if you are under 18.
The relevant legislation is contained in the Protection of Children Act 1978 (England and Wales) as amended in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (England and Wales).
• It is an offence to possess, distribute, show and make indecent images of children.
• The Sexual Offences Act 2003 (England and Wales) defines a child, for the
purposes of indecent images, as anyone under the age of 18.
‘Indecent’ is not defined in legislation. When cases are prosecuted, the question of whether any photograph of a child is indecent is for a jury, magistrate or District
Judge to decide based on what is the recognised standard of propriety.13 For most purposes, if imagery contains a naked young person, a topless girl, and/ or displays genitals or sex acts, including masturbation, then it will be considered indecent. Indecent images may also include overtly sexual images of young people in their underwear.