Educators get tips on how to deal with student sexting [Montreal Gazette, by Brenda Branswell,30/1/2015]

A high school student snaps an intimate photo of herself and sends it to her boyfriend, but then frets after they break up about what might happen to it

Maybe nothing happens. Or maybe the sexual image gets shared and posted online.

Sexting” or sending sexual images over cellphones, was the focus of a talk Friday at the English Montreal School Board where staff gathered to hear Noni Classen from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

“It’s hard to measure, but what we do know is it’s happening much more than it’s reported,” Classen said of the practice among teenagers.

The Winnipeg-based charitable organization has seen about a 10 per cent increase in cases dealing with “sexting” on, its tip line for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children.

“And we know that we’re only getting the tip of the iceberg so we can say that it is a pervasive problem in that it’s occurring much more regularly than it used to.”— Noni Classen of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection

“And we know that we’re only getting the tip of the iceberg so we can say that it is a pervasive problem in that it’s occurring much more regularly than it used to,” said Classen, the centre’s director of education.

They hear about it when it becomes a problem for a kid, she said. They know there are cases involving boys as well, but girls are overrepresented in the reports they receive and what they hear.

The centre looked at 108 cases of teenage sexting reported to its tip line of photos being posted or shared. The vast majority of cases involved girls — 93. Parents knew about it in 35 cases and schools in only 19 instances.

Most of the reporting to the centre’s tip line is about adults involving things like child pornography and luring. But since 2005, they’ve started seeing an increase in reporting from kids because of this problem that they had “created content and it was causing distress for them. So they became the reporting person and the victim,” Classen said.

“We started looking at this going okay, there’s a problem. And our law enforcement partners … they started saying: ‘Oh my gosh, we’re being inundated by this.’ And then we started getting calls from schools and so realized we really need to take a look at this and put something together that’s more of a framework and a structured way to be walking through these cases to support kids.”
Resource guide

The centre has produced a resource guide for schools and families about “self/peer exploitation.” The section for families can be downloaded for free from the centre’s website. It also has a website,, that offers information for teens who have been affected by the sharing of sexual images and videos with suggestions for how they can try to get them taken off the Internet.

Schools often call it cyberbullying and it’s because content has been created and then shared with other people beyond it’s intended recipient, Classen said.

“You also get a range. So you get some kids who it’s not a big deal, but they know that it’s a problem if there’s pictures being shared so we need to get the pictures down, we need to get the pictures contained. Other kids can’t stop worrying about it. It’s a huge source of anxiety for them. It’s a huge source of anxiety for their families … concern for what do we do, how do we deal with this?”
Can became suicidal

For others it’s so distressing they can became suicidal, Classen said.

It has become one of the issues they’re dealing with, said Pela Nickoletopoulos, principal at Lester B. Pearson High School in Montreal North, who has had to intervene in a few cases.

“It is something that we come across in the school often enough,” said Jaimie Dimopoulos, a guidance counsellor at Rosemount High School.

“In the events that I’ve seen, it’s the students that are coming to see us because they feel stuck and they’re not sure what else they can do at this point,” Dimopoulos said.

In her experience, it has typically been girls sending pictures to their boyfriends “and then they’re kind of stuck with the boyfriends have this content now and they don’t feel safe with it, or they’ve now entered into an argument so they’re not sure how this will be used,” Dimopoulos said.

Half Of Teens Report Being Bullied In New Study [, by Gil Kaufman, 26/10/2010]

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

If you’ve ever been taunted, teased, bullied or roughed up, these statistics will not surprise you. According to the largest study of its kind ever conducted, half of all high school students admit to bullying their peers and nearly as many say they were bullied during the past year.

The study from the Josephson Institute of Ethics comes amid a flurry of stories about the sometimes-fatal consequences of bullying, spurred by the recent suicides of a number of gay teens who took their lives after harassment about their sexuality.

“If the saying ‘sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never harm me’ was ever true, it certainly is not so today,” said Michael Josephson, founder and president of the institute, in a press release announcing the results. Josephson also pointed out the especially harsh nature of cyberbullying: “Insults, name calling, relentless teasing and malicious gossip often inflict deep and enduring pain. … It’s not only the prevalence of bullying behavior and victimization that’s troublesome. The Internet has intensified the injury. What’s posted on the Internet is permanent, and it spreads like a virus — there is no refuge. The difference between the impact of bullying today versus 20 years ago is the difference between getting into a fistfight and using a gun.”

Previous surveys by the institute did not take cyberbullying into account, but according to the report, which interviewed more than 43,000 high-schoolers ages 15 to 18, 50 percent admit they bullied someone in the past year, while 47 percent said they had been bullied, teased or taunted in a way that seriously upset them in that same time period.

The survey respondents, from 78 public and 22 private schools, revealed other troubling trends. Almost one-third (33 percent) said violence is a big problem at their school, and one in four (24 percent) said they don’t feel very safe at their school. What’s worse is that the violence does not appear to be constrained to just verbal taunts, as more than half (52 percent) said they’ve hit a person because they were angry in the past year, 10 percent said they took a weapon to school at least once in the past year. And 16 percent admitted to having been intoxicated at school.

“The combination of bullying, a penchant toward violence when one is angry, the availability of weapons and the possibility of intoxication at school increases significantly the likelihood of retaliatory violence,” Josephson said, referring parents to the Character Counts survey for information on what they can do to prevent bullying and for signs to recognize if bullying is taking place.

As stars and political figures from President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Adam Lambert and Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington speak out in the It Gets Better video series to encourage bullied teens to keep their heads up, and Brittany Snow continues to spread the word in conjunction with MTV’s Love Is Louder campaign, the Josephson survey revealed troubling details about stubbornly consistent violent teen tendencies.

In one question, 21 percent of respondents admitted to mistreating someone because he or she belonged to a different group. An even higher number (23 percent) said they are prejudiced against certain groups, and 42 percent said they have used racial insults. These figures were almost identical to numbers from a 2008 survey.

To spread a message of hope to victims of bullying and harassment, join MTV, Brittany Snow and the Jed Foundation in telling the world that Love Is Louder than hate. Visit the project’s Facebook page, upload videos to and use the hashtag #loveislouder on Twitter.