Naked teenage selfies – being made public

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    What age should kids get a phone? What age do you allow them on social media?

    ISPCC was on radio this morning discussing the increase in teens calling the helpline and talking about how they shared a selfie – often naked or close to naked – with a boyfriend. They think its private and will only be for the boyfriend but lots of the boys are sharing the pics and showing them to their friends, sharing on social media etc.

    It is very very worrying that girls feel they need to do this kind of thing to get a boyfriend, or keep a boyfriend happy.

    When did this kind of thing become normal or is it normal?

    Why do kids feel the need to do this? Very worrying….

    I am going to have a chat with my 12 year old about this today. He is currently very innocent but will be starting secondary school in Sep and apparently, that’s when things get complicated.

    Its so hard being a parent in these internet led times :)


    I’ve already spoken to my 9 yr old about the internet and photos/comments etc that once you hit post/enter/send it’s out there and there is no going back and how she has no control then over what happens it or who sees it – I’ve told her to think very carefully and if she wouldn’t do/say/show it to us or her grandparents that she shouldn’t post it online/in text message etc – and I will keep on reiterating this and hope to Christ is sinks in.

    I’m shocked that at least 3 of her friends that I know of have Facebook accounts and have had them since they were 8!!!!!!!!!(2 are still 8yr)!!!!! quiet a few of them are on snapchat and instragram too. She has got a kindle which I monitor and she is allowed to use Skype on my phone or the family laptop(which sits on a desk downstairs) – I’ve explained that I feel 9yr olds are too young for freedom on social sites of any description and while she’s allowed access to Skype I’m not putting it on her kindle just yet. We’ve had a few tantrums but we’ve spoken at length about it and she understands – doesn’t like but understands.

    I was actually grateful for internet safety day yesterday – they spoke about it in school and she came home telling me I was right…….so should have recorded that!!….. but teacher said everything I had been saying.

    it scares me how their world is so involved in internet /social media etc – love nothing more than seeing them out playing and being real kids iykwim. don’t get me wrong internet can be fantastic – love the ease I can keep in touch with family and friends abroad BUT why or why do parents allow children unsupervised access at such a young age is beyond me.


    Times have certainly changed and it scares me. I feel so sorry for today’s teenagers. When we made a mistake as a teenager, the impact was usually short lived but now things are so easily immortalised with social media etc. It’s a massive responsibility that we put on them by giving them access to phones and social media. My kids are still very young so it’s easy for me to say, but I really am gonna try to put it all off for as long as possible even if it makes me the meanest mammy around, lol, i predict a riot!


    allyj – we were the same at 8 she was one of the oldest in her class getting a tablet – she bought it herself with her communion money – and I will be holding out until then for my 6yr to get hers.

    It is scary, for the most part my 9yr old listens to music on it and uses the music when practising dancing and gymnastics – plays a few games and watches a few things on you tube – I check every night what she’s watching and we are strict on the amount of time she’s allowed it. but it is non stop and I find winter months the worst – once the summer months come in they’ve less interest in electronics full stop……..well that is until phones come into it – at the moment the kindle doesn’t leave the house. 🙄


    Our son is 12.5 and still not on facebook. He is on instagram through his phone since Christmas and we monitor his account oursleves. We go through his friends and his posts.

    Its a scary world but as parents, I think we have a responsibility to monitor and explain to our children what happens if they share something they maybe shouldn’t.

    Imagine being a 14 year old girl who sent a half naked pic (or worse) to a boy and then he shares it with everyone. How do you get over something like that?

    we might have done stupid things as teens but like you said girls, it was usually short lived embarrassment.

    I feel so sorry for teens today, its a much harder world to navigate.

    Im dreading our son starting secondary school 🙁


    If you have teens, there is a great video on the website This shows teenagers what can happen when you share your private picture online. This is actually a very good resource aimed at teens.

    Luckily, neither of my kids have a phone yet. Nor any interest in getting one. They both have tablets, which I have locked down as tight as I can but every so often, some new site catches me out.

    On the Android, I use Norton Family. This is for my 6yr old. It blocks all adult sites, social media site and anything that requires payment. If they attempt to access something they should not, it blocks them and emails me. I have Youtube setup for restricted access – blocks anything for adults. This is working very well. There is now a Youtube kids for android – which they love. It is free on google play and keeps them away from the adult version. I also have Netflix setup for a kids account.

    I recently discovered that I need to set age restrictions on google play. My ds had worked happily for 2yrs without issue. My dd managed to get games – which looked like cartoons – on childbirth and sections. Luckily, he told on her, before she got to "play"!!

    On the Windows tablet, I have windows family setup. You set this up for yourself and then add children. You can set curfews, after which their tablet shuts down(loving that 😀 ). It also restricts all adult sites. I have also setup a restricted list, which blocks facebook, twitter, snapchat, whatspp and anything new that comes up).

    It requires constant monitoring – and I am fairly experienced with computers!!


    We made a big mistake a few months ago – our son had just gotten his phone and he signed up to an Instagram account (using my email address and without checking with me first!) and he naively put his phone number in.

    Within a few hours, he had received a phone call from a man to his mobile phone. Luckily my husband was sitting beside his phone and he answered the call and when the man realised it was a man, not a child, answering the phone, he hung up.

    But it just goes to show how easily these things can happen!

    Its terrifying but we try to monitor as much as we can without being too crazy!!!

    CA Coaching

    You’ve all made some really good points here around safety, I think we are all learning that online social media is just as much a regular part of life as meeting friends for a coffee.

    Here are a couple of articles I wrote on my site on the topic, I hope they help (I’ve also put some video links at the bottom that might me useful):

    There is a huge amount of “pester power” from kids to get a phone and device that will give them access to the internet. What can parents do to manage this?

    Phones, technology and the internet are a big part of the world your child is growing up in. That is a fact. What you need to manage as a parent is how and when your child engages with this media. Again – you need to remember that your job is to parent your child and so you need to do what feels right for your child and your family. I’m not going to tell you that you should or shouldn’t allow your kids – you need to decide what is right for your family.

    First and foremost, whether you permit your children to use social media now or later, you need to educate them about the dos and do-nots of social media and texting. Encourage them to engage with social media and texting responsibly.

    Get them to ask themselves simple questions such as “Would I say this to his/her face?”, “Would I be hurt if someone said that about me?” or “Is that person worth responding to?” … other techniques such as “Would I like this to appear on the front of the newspaper?” will help your child judge whether they should or shouldn’t say things to or about others.

    A few tips for parents:

    Be aware of the devices in your home that kids can use to access the internet. Computer and Laptops, Phones, Tablets, E-Book Readers, some games consoles and now some TVs … make sure you have parental controls enabled on all of these.

    If you have WiFi in your home you can do simple things like switching off the modem at night or at certain hours of the day when your kids are doing homework. Just because you have an “always on” signal does not mean that you actually have to have it “on” at all times.

    Any internet access your pre-teen has, should ideally be somewhere that you can see what they are accessing. You may decide that internet access in their bedroom is not what you want. This may be a running battle with your child but remember you are the parent.

    You may have the WiFi network at home armed with parental controls but be aware of the WiFi access that your kids might seek out in other places (perhaps shopping centres, outside hotels and other public buildings). Once on-line, your kids are opened up to a world of subjects, images and people that you may not want them to engage with. Watch out for neighbours that might have WiFi with an unprotected password – your kids can access their network if they don’t have a password. You can see whether this is the case by “Searching for network” and if the network list that comes up doesn’t have a lock beside it, there is a good chance that your child will be able to access it.” It is perfectly acceptable to pop in next door and ask them if they wouldn’t mind password protecting their network if this is the case and most people won’t mind.

    The outside world has access to your child when they carry a mobile phone or are actively using social media. In the old days, when you closed the front door, bullies could not reach you. But now through text messages, social media sites etc. your pre-teen can bully and be bullied. Your job, as much as possible, it to try to protect them from external influences so try to resist the pressure from your kids to have internet access all the time.

    You should be able to access your child’s phone, device or computer. Look at your child’s internet browsing history. If it is empty then you need to work out what are they trying to hide. Make it part of the conditions of being able to use the internet that you are able to check the history and if its been cleared they need to know that there will be a sanction (24 hours without access or similar).

    Kids are clever – they may have a dummy Facebook page that they allow you to see and a private one they share with friends. If you don’t already use social media, read up, get involved and try to stay ahead of your child with the developments in technology.

    The way you deal with this for your first child will have an impact on younger kids in your house. As soon as the eldest child in the family is allowed one thing, it naturally filters down to younger children who also want to “play” with the same technology. So think carefully about how you want to introduce this into your home.

    Practical Issues:

    There are other practical issues you should consider before giving your child a personal electronic device:

    Practical considerations to begin with – would your child be able to look after an expensive electronic device? Would it make them a target for being mugged if they are carrying something like that around?

    Your pre-teen should not have a phone at school – sometimes parents feel that for practical purposes kids should have a phone but the reality is that when your child leaves school they are taking a school bus home to after-school or to a grandparent so there is someone expecting their arrival. Kids use this argument to get themselves a phone – don’t feel pressured into it.

    Tips for Kids

    – People you are talking to online may not be who they say they are.
    – Only put up information you’d be happy for your parents & relatives to see/read.
    – Everyone should check out for tips on staying safe.
    – Only accept people as friends online if you know them in person.
    – Never agree to meet an online friend in person, without permission from your parents.
    – Not everything you read online is actually correct.
    – Respect others and yourself while online as you would in person.
    – Show your parents how to use the internet!
    – Don’t give out personal information (phone number, address etc.).

    Downloadable Tips Sheet -[url][/url]


    My husband and I went through our son’s phone last night – we try to do it often – and we noticed he had started to follow some people he does not know again!! He was following people in Korea, US, UK, Denmark and Spain!!!

    We went into each profile and deleted most of them. The only ones we left were football related and his friends that we know.

    I only checked it a few weeks ago but in that time, he had notched up a whole load new people to follow – people he does not know and does not have any need to know.

    Its a constant need for vigilance and he is almost 13. I cannot even imagine what its gonna be like when he’s 15. So help us……


    I went through a few things from here last night – setting preferences on youtube and checking her history (which I do most nights)
    she’s not on any social websites yet and the Skype is on my phone – so I read her message
    got some good points and tips of this thread – Thank you
    I’ve printed out CA coaches comments and am going to go through it with her and my husband
    it is a fact of life these days whether we like it or not

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