Gatineau launches sexting prevention project
According to police reports, half of all child pornography files since 2014 have involved sexting -- the creation, transmission and sharing of nude photos and videos on social media.
Gatineau police have launched the program, #GARDECAPOURTOI, designed to educate kids and prevent the practice. After consultations with young people and teachers, the city initiated a pilot project in one high school in the spring of 2015 with the goal of evaluating the best means to reach the kids on this subject. Since then, #GARDECAPOURTOI has received the support of the city’s 13 public and private high schools, as well as the city’s Youth Commission.
Sexting may violate child pornography laws
The Criminal Code is violated when anyone—of any age—publishes photos or videos of another person who is nude, partially naked, or engaging in sexual activity, and who is under 18. The code also prohibits sharing images without the permission of the person appearing in the photos or videos.
According to Psychology Today magazine, nearly 30% of teenagers have sent or received a sext. These individuals were found to be more likely to engage in intercourse at an early age, putting them at risk of STDs and pregnancy. The study found the peak age of sexting to be 16 or 17, with girls (68%) more often asked to send an image than boys (42%).
While teens think they may be sending a photo to a friend, once the sext is sent, the sender has no control over where the image ends up. Via the Internet, a sext can easily be forwarded beyond the friends of the sender. A sext can also be used as a nasty weapon in a breakup—to humiliate the female partner, usually.
Sexting can have multiple consequences, from shaming to harassment, to extortion, and worse. The magazine’s study concludes, “Although many teens and young adults may be blasé about sexting, others acknowledge that it can be dangerous and even deadly.”
Gatineau police have yet to report on the progress of their effort at prevention.