In wake of two sets of London charges, experts say embarrassment and laws aren’t deterring ‘sexting’

Unsuspecting teens’ intimate photos shared online, a teen girl filmed during sex without her knowing — two separate investigations, three accused and police in two Southwestern Ontario cities shaking their heads.

Reason for alarm, yes.

But, despite all the lessons kids get about responsible online behaviour and criminal sanctions that can result if they don’t, experts warn it’s par for the course — even the new normal — in the sharing culture - writes

In the span of less than a week, police in London and St. Thomas have laid child pornography charges against three young men in two different cases — both stemming from intimate photos and videos of teens who didn’t know they were being targeted.

The alleged victims aren’t alone.

Forty-two per cent of Canadian youth who’ve sent sexy or nude images — what experts call sexts — have had one shared without their consent, a new national survey of 800 16- to 20-year-olds found.

“There’s a significant number of sext recipients sharing sexts they’ve received. That’s unambiguously illegal under Canadian law,” said study author Matthew Johnson. “The privacy risk, the risk of getting in trouble, the risk of blowback — none of these things seemed to be major (deterrents) for the sharers.”

The research, lead by the University of Toronto and digital media literacy non-profit MediaSmarts, found 41 per cent of respondents had sent intimate photos and 30 per cent had shared a racy shot by showing it to another person, forwarding it electronically or posting it publicly.

In London, racy photos of an unsuspecting teen couple were shared with almost 800 people on Facebook, police say.

On Monday, London police arrested and charged an 18-year-old St. Thomas man accused of posting and sharing racy photos of the teen boy and girl, both under age 16, on the social media site.

The unidentified accused — who was known to the couple — logged into the accounts of one of the other young people in early September without permission and put the photos online, police say.

Last Thursday, St. Thomas police slapped a 15-year-old boy and 18-year-old man with child pornography charges after a 14-year-old girl was reportedly videotaped without her knowledge during a sex act.

In Stratford, a 22-year-old man accused of extorting women online with their own naked photos will be back in court March 13 to answer to 35 criminal charges, including several counts of criminal harassment and publishing an intimate image without consent.

But the threat of serious legal ramifications barely does anything to deter young people from sharing intimate photos without consent, Johnson said.

Ditto for in-school education programs and household rules.

“The youth in our study, about two-thirds of them were aware that sharing sexts was against the law in Canada,” said Johnson.

“But whether or not they knew, that was not connected to how likely they were to share sexts,” Johnson said.

Instead, researchers found young people with high moral disengagement — ones who blamed the victim or downplayed the damage sharing sexy photos can cause — were more likely to distribute shots without consent.

Youth with entrenched gender stereotypes, who strongly agreed men should be more interested in sex or women can’t be truly happy without a relationship, were significantly more likely to have shared a racy picture.

Johnson said this subgroup of their sample — and he believes, the youth population at large — has normalized this kind of non-consensual cyber-sharing, despite the real-world consequences.

The relatively new laws on cyberbullying and distributing photos without consent won’t be able to stamp out sharing, Johnson said, at least not overnight.

“It’s not impossible that, over time, laws might make a difference,” he said.

“But at the same time there also has to be a societal change.”

Read more news of London on our site.
sexting London
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

England female basketball stars were joined by an NBA great to inspire young women to take up their sport. Siobhan Prior and Georgia Jones were joined by three-time NBA champion Bruce Bowen at the Jr. NBA Girls Clinic, hosted at CitySport in Barbican on Monday, before a game at the O2 on Thursday between the Washington Wizards and the New York Knicks. Prior and Jones, who were in the silver medal-winning England Women’s team at the Gold Coast Commonwealth...
Grieving parents heard that new medical practices could have saved their baby, who died in their arms at just four days old from preventable brain damage caused during labour. Sebastian Clark was born at Kingston Hospital on March 8 2017,  with devastating injuries from which he would never recover. Failure by midwives to escalate the case and subsequent failure by doctors to expedite the pregnancy, despite knowing that Sebastian’s mother Alison had develo...
A man has been tasered and arrested by police at a train station in south London. The 59-year old is currently being questioned on suspicion of attempted murder and possession of an offensive weapon after being detained at Tulse Hill. British Transport Police officers were called to the station just after 6:30pm to reports of someone carrying a knife. Nobody was injured and the arrest is not believed to be terror related. Witnesses are being urged to conta...
A mother has died and her eight-month-old boy is in hospital after being hit by a car as they crossed a road. The woman, believed to be in her 20s, was pushing a pram when they were hit in Anerley, south London, last night. The boy is in a serious condition after suffering from life-threatening injuries. The driver of the car that is believed to have hit them was also taken to hospital for non-life-threatening injuries and is helping police with their inqu...
News Company
Breaking up with your partner is always a disastrous event. However, if your partner decides to break up with you, it isn’t necessarily the end. Statistically 66% of exes want to get back together again. 50% of separated couples reunite. Here we will show you tips on how to fix a broken relationship. If you want to find your love you must realize that it is all about respect and understanding your beloved one.  Accepting The Situation  You have to calm dow...
A Londoner who used to contemplate suicide on his morning commute is now running the length of every Tube line to raise money for a mental health charity. Daniel Sherry, 29, quit his sports PR job in April 2018 and set about completing “30 challenges before 30”, including running his first marathon and cycling from London to Paris. His latest exploit is seeing him traverse all 11 lines of the capital’s 249 mile-long underground network above ground, on foo...
The family of London teenager Jayden Moodie say he had no links to gangs and was "murdered in cold blood". Jayden Moodie, 14, was stabbed to death by attackers who knocked him off a moped in Leyton on Tuesday in what police believe was a targeted attack. The teenager had moved from Nottingham to London with his mother six months ago for a "new start". No arrests have been made over Jayden's death, the Met Police has said. Speaking near to the scene where J...
A clubber who ploughed his car onto a packed dance floor in a drink and drug-fuelled rage after being thrown out by bouncers has been jailed for 28 years. Mohammed Abdul said he felt “humiliated” after being ejected from Blake’s nightclub in Gravesend, Kent, on March 17 last year. He drank at least 15 glasses of vodka, tequila shots and more than “five to 10 spliffs” of cannabis before he got behind the wheel of his Suzuki Vitara. Bouncers had kicked him o...
More than 100,000 spectators will descend on central London to watch the Mayor’s firework display tonight as the capital gears up for New Year’s Eve. Barriers have been put in place lining the streets ahead of the display, which has sold out. Fences have also been erected around fountains at Trafalgar Square ahead of Tuesday’s New Year’s Day parade. Tickets are no longer available but the display is visible from Greenwich Park, Hampstead Heath, Vauxhall Br...