Image bank helps young people to say ‘no’ to online sexting requests

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Just say no: (above and below) Examples of the Zipit app gif images that young people can use to handle sexting requests

A free gallery of images and animations is helping young people to say “no” in difficult sexting situations online.

The free Zipit app offers a range of gif files that can be sent in response to requests for sexual pictures.

The latest update of the app was published last week, coinciding with new figures revealing that Childline held 2,634 counselling sessions about sexting in 2016/17.

Sexting was also the most viewed topic on the Childline website last year, with 221,840 page views.

The app is particularly relevant as Childline counsellors have heard how some teenagers felt pressured by peers into sending nude selfies.

One 14-year-old girl told Childline: “I sent some naked pictures of myself to a boy that I was talking to online. I really regret it now because he took screenshots and says that he’ll show them to all my friends. I don’t know how to report him, I really don’t want my family to find out.”

The app also includes advice on safe online chatting and what young people should do if they feel threatened or if an image becomes public. If a young person is worried about an image they have shared, they can visit the Childline website’s “remove” page and follow the steps to have the image taken down from the internet.

NSPCC CEO Peter Wanless said: “Many young people tell Childline that they feel pressured into sending sexual images of themselves and don’t always have the confidence to say no. Once a teenager sends an image of themselves they have no control over where it is shared or who sees it, and sometimes images can end up online.

“This can leave a child feeling humiliated and even lead to them being bullied or blackmailed. By using humour Zipit helps young people take control of online chatting that becomes awkward or pressurised and support them if something goes wrong.”

Childline founder and president Dame Esther Rantzen added: “Senior police tell me that sexting has become normalised for far too many young people, so many teenagers feel pressurised into sending explicit pictures of themselves.

“There is a real danger that they feel desperately humiliated, and it can sometimes result in them being abused or bullied into handing over money to prevent these images being shown to school friends or family members.

“Many parents have told me they feel helpless when they try to protect their children against these dangerous pressures, so I’d encourage families and professionals to take a look at Zipit and share it with the teenagers they know.”

  • You can download the Zipit app from the Childline website: http://bit.ly/2hLcWcP
  • The “Remove” page on the Childline website can be found at https://childline.org.uk/remove
  • Childline is available 24/7 on freephone 0800 1111 24/7 or at www.childline.org.uk for counselling chat, emails or message boards.
  • Adults worried about a child can contact the helpline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0808 800 5000, by texting 88858 or visiting www.nspcc.org.uk


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