'Sexting' incidents on the rise in region's schools

THE dangers of teens “sexting” explicit photographs to each other have been highlighted by the latest round of incident reports published by NSW Education and Communities.

The department publishes a report each term detailing serious incidents in the state’s public schools.

While the incident reports published on the department’s website are heavily censored to protect the parties involved, they reveal enough information to determine the trends in school incidents.

And sexting seems to be on the rise in local schools.

Across the Western region, the number of incidents listed under the “other” category – including inappropriate images – was greater than the number of assaults for the first time since the department started publishing quarterly figures in 2005.

In one incident at a Bathurst region school in May, the deputy principal was contacted after a student showed an image on their mobile phone.

The deputy principal confiscated the phone and viewed the image and asked how it came to be there.

She was told the image had been sent to the student’s younger sister by another student who had taken an image of a third student.

The deputy principal contacted police and the incident was considered so serious that the school liaised with officers about the likelihood of charges being laid.

In a second, even more heavily censored incident, a student’s mother contacted her school’s deputy principal to raise concerns about an image her daughter had sent to her boyfriend.

Again, police were contacted.

Chifley local area command youth liaison officer Constable Matt Holden knows only too well the dangers of sexting and regularly speaks to local schools about the dark side of technology.

“I tell the students to use their brains, what happens if you break up with this person?” Constable Holden said.

“It can’t be taken back.”

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