Last month, stars including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and Downton Abbey’s Jessica Brown Findlay had personal naked images and videos splashed across the internet by an American hacker.
But the very public embarrassment of these female celebrities has done nothing to curb the number of young people increasingly sharing nude selfies over text, email or the phone app Snapchat.
A new survey shows that 38 per cent of 18-24 year olds have shared an inappropriate selfie.
But parents are blissfully unaware of the current trend for x-rated snaps – in the same survey by My Voucher Codes, only 13 per cent of mothers and fathers across the UK believed their child would ever share a nude photo with friends or partners.
The obvious reason for the lack of awareness among middle-aged men and women is that very few adults share naked pictures of themselves.
In the same poll, only eight per cent of 45-54 year-olds admitted to taking a nude selfie, while the craze is even less prevalent in pensioners – only two per cent of those questioned who were aged 65 and over admitted to having a photo of themselves in the buff on their mobile phone.
The most enlightened parents in the UK appeared to come from Northern Ireland, with 25 per cent of those questioned believing that their child would take a naked picture – they were almost spot on as 26 per cent of 18-24 year olds revealed they had done so.
Scottish young adults were the least likely to take their clothes off for a photo, with only 12 percent admitting to it, while the figure was 38 per cent in England.
These statistics show that parents are still unaware of their children’s behaviour online, despite repeated attempts by children’s charities over the last five years to warn mothers and fathers of the dangers of sexting.
The NSPCC warns that the practice is illegal for anyone under the age of 16 and by sending the image a child is liable to be prosecuted for producing and distributing child abuse images.
They also advise that young girls or boys sending naked pictures are opening themselves up to the chance of blackmail and bullying.
Children’s charity ChildLine warns that young people are taking huge risks by taking and sending the sexual images, and warned that some were being driven to the brink of suicide after the photos became widely shared.
One teenager, 17-year-old James, told the charity: ‘Sexting is pretty normal at my age. It seems like everyone’s doing it.’
James said he still engaged in sexting despite the dangers.
‘I do worry about who is behind the phones of the people I sext with – obviously if you don’t know the person in real life there’s no guarantee they are who they say they are,’ he added.
ChildLine director, Peter Liver, said the rise of classroom sexting was linked, in part, to the widespread availability of porn online.