Sexting is normal for children: study [SBS.COM.AU, by AAP, 15/10/2014 ].

Children now see “sexting” as part of normal life with girls more likely to provide sexually explicit pictures of themselves through social media Smartphone apps, according to an anti-bullying report.

Instances of abuse and sexting, where explicit texts and pictures are sent between smartphone devices, are on the rise and are having a serious detrimental effect on the health and wellbeing of young people, English charity Ditch the Label has claimed.

The British anti-bullying organisation surveyed 2732 people aged between 13 and 25 and had published the findings in its Wireless Report.

The survey revealed that 62 per cent of young people had been abused through a Smartphone app, while 37 per cent had sent a naked photo of themselves and 24 per cent had seen that image shared without their consent.

Girls were twice as likely to send a naked photo to someone than boys, the report said.

While 49 per cent of those questioned said they believed sexting was just a bit of harmless fun and 16 per cent said it was “the normal thing to do”, 13 per cent of young people claimed they had felt pressurised into sending explicit pictures.

Chloe, 17, who did not want to give her surname for fear of reprisals, said she fell into a deep depression after sending a naked photo of herself to a boy she trusted, only to find he had uploaded it to Facebook.

The teenager was being bullied at school three years ago and thought that by becoming friends with the boy the bullying would stop.

She claims he spent three or four months asking for her to send him a naked “selfie” and that she eventually relented under the pressure.

The next day she saw the picture had been uploaded to Facebook and many pupils at her school had seen it.

“He said it served me right. It had a lot of repercussions for me and I fell into a severe depression.

“I tried to commit suicide a few times. It was really tough.

“I didn’t let my dad know because it would have broken his heart. My mum was angry with me but there was nothing she could do but support me.”

Chloe said she contacted Facebook but it took at least two days for the image to come down, by which time the damage had already been done.

The Facebook website says it does not tolerate bullying or harassment and that it has “a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and any explicitly sexual content where a minor is involved”.

It claims it also imposes limitations on the display of nudity.

Ditch the Label also looked at the most popular apps used by young people on Smartphones.

Snapchat – an instant photo sharing platform with images being “deleted” after 10 seconds, came top, followed by Instagram, Skype, Kik Messenger – a free anonymous instant messaging app, and Whatsapp, according to the charity.

The survey also revealed that 62 per cent of young people had been sent nasty private messages through Smartphone apps and that 52 per cent had never reported the abuse they received.

A further 26 per cent said they felt like their complaint was not taken seriously when they reported it, the survey said.

Almost half of those who had suffered abuse through a Smartphone app said they had experienced a loss of confidence, while 22 per cent turned to self-harming as a coping mechanism and 22 per cent tried to change their appearance to avoid further abuse.

Claire Lilley, head of Child Online Safety at the NSPCC said: “Sadly many children now see sexting as part of normal life with girls constantly being pestered to provide sexual pictures of themselves.

“It may seem harmless fun but it can often have a devastating end with images that were never intended to be shared being circulated to a massive audience.”

What Causes Your Child to Become a Bully? [Huffington Post, by Dr. Gail Gross, 14/10/2014 ].

You race to the school, a million scenarios flashing through your brain. Is your child hurt? Was your child bullied?

Then you arrive at the school to learn that your child was involved with the one scenario you never imagined in your head as a parent: your child, it turns out, has been bullying other children at school.

Your child is the bully.

You didn’t see it coming. What should you do?

What causes a child to become the bully?

While there is no one single profile of a child bully, in my years as a researcher and educator, I have witnessed a few different situations that describe the majority of child bullies:

1. Like Parent, Like Child
Children model what they see. If a child is bullied by his/her parent, or is being abused or treated in a disrespectful way at home, that child is likely to imitate this behavior at school. They are learning from their parent that this type of behavior is acceptable.

2. The Powerless Child
Sometimes, the child that bullies is the child who feels completely powerless at home. Perhaps this child is abused, or watches one of his parents abuse another parent and he/she is left feeling scared and powerless at home. This child may attempt to gain back power by bullying others at school.

3. The Forgotten Child
I have seen children who feel invisible at home act out as bullies at school. Children need constant love and respectful attention from the adults who care for them — and they want and need it most from their mother and father. Nobody is more important than mom and dad; children will try to gain approval from mom and dad, from the time they are born until the time they die. If they do not get love and attention at home, they may feel voiceless and un-important. That feeling of invisibility may turn into anger, resentment and then bullying others at school.

4. The Entitled Child
Then there is the child who has been given too much power. I have seen children who are given everything they want, raised without limitations and rules to follow, who then grow up to feel entitled and all-powerful. These children may believe they have a right to bully others at school, since they bulldoze their parents at home.

5. Children Who Lack Empathy
Finally, there are those children who come from wonderful, loving homes with actively involved parents who become bullies. These child bullies may simply lack empathy, like to dominate, are possessive and want power. The wonderful thing about this is that empathy is something that can be taught.

Children Who Bully Are Still Children
It is important to remember that children who bully are still children. They are acting that way for a reason, and they, too, need help and guidance from adults. In my experience, bullies may not have healthy social behaviors, empathy, or coping skills. This has the potential to lead to a lifetime of relationship problems, general parenting problems, and even problems with the law.