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From sexting to school improvement: new research

The Evidence Group of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety has today published two new Research Highlights, adding to its series of over 100 summaries of key research in online safety.

The new Research Highlights present an overview of findings from two major research projects.

Young people’s experiences of sexting

The EU funded SPIRTO Project examined the risks related to young people generating and sharing sexual content (or ‘sexting’) in Sweden, Germany and the UK. Their Research Highlight shares key findings, including the outcome of interviews they conducted with young people about sexting:

  • The main motivating factors for producing and sending images were: fun, flirting and meeting new people; exploring sexuality; seeking affirmation; social acceptance; part of a romantic or sexual relationship; and being asked or coerced. Youths commonly described a combination of factors, with images created in a range of contexts.
  • Experiences were diverse and ranged from online grooming, where children were pressured or coerced to produce images, to the creation and sending of images within the context of a caring relationship.
  • Most participants carefully considered whether or not to send a nude image and took steps to mitigate perceived risks (e.g., keeping identifying features hidden or asking a partner to send an image first)

Read more in Research Highlight 112.

School standards in online safety

The second new Research Highlight presents findings from the ‘UK Schools Online Safety Policy and Practice Assessment 2016’ produced by Andy Phippen for the South West Grid for Learning.

This presents an overview of the results of the analysis of the self-assessment data collected from the 360 degree safe tool (https://360safe.org.uk/) launched by SWGfL in November 2009, and used by over 8000 schools across the country.

The report presents key findings about school standards, with areas of strength:

  • Almost 65% of schools have excellent or good connectivity and filtering in place.
  • Almost 70% of schools have strong online safety policies in place

As well as areas of weakness:

  • Almost 50% have not conducted any staff training to date around online safety.
  • Almost 60% of schools have no engagement with the community on online safety issues.
  • Over 50% of schools have no means to evaluate the impact of their online safety strategy.

Read more in Research Highlight 111.

See the full series of Research Highlights