On February 5th an all-Ukrainian campaign #STOP_SEXting was held in schools across the country within the framework of the International Safe Internet Day. Especially for this event, the team of the Commissioner of the President of Ukraine for Children’s Rights, together with Kyiv Cyberpolice Department, “Ranok” publishing house and with support of the internet-partner Datagroup created the program of a school lesson on the topic of protection of adolescents from sexual risks on the Internet “Intimate selfie on the Internet — just a joke or a dangerous risk?”
The lesson was held in almost all educational institutions of the country, because, according to the statistics, 16 % of children in the world send their intimate photos to friends or strangers in the network (about half a million Ukrainian children)*. The phenomenon of sharing intimate photos online is called “sexting”. By sending their intimate photos, children put themselves at risk of distributing these materials online, which leads to cyberbullying and harassment in school. However, more and more children are suffering from online grooming-intimate photos extortion and blackmail.
“The purpose of the lesson is to form with Ukrainian students an idea of the actual risks on the Internet, related to the transfer of their private intimate photos. In developing of this lesson, we did an analysis of best international programs and experience of preventive information campaigns on the topic of online risks, held talks with European organizations and received a license for the translation, adaptation and use of video of their information campaign in our lesson. Thanks to these materials teachers can easily communicate these risks to children. It is important that after the lessons students will understand the essence of such concepts such as “sexting” and “online grooming”. And most importantly – they will know how to act and where to get help in case of getting into a similar situations», – explains Anastasiia Dyakova, a national expert on the protection of children from violence, who works in the team of the Commissioner of the President of Ukraine for Children’s Rights the Plenipotentiary of the President of Ukraine for children's rights.
In the framework of the campaign, Director of information security of Datagroup Oleksandr Prykhodko, together with Anastasiia conducted such a lesson for students of Kyiv Novopechersk school.
“It is hard to imagine the life of today’s youth without using the Internet. For children and adolescents it is the main tool of communication, education, entertainment etc. Often they are much more skilled in this than us, but due to lack of life experience they may underestimate the existing threats. Our task as parents is to explain in simple words about real dangers in the network. This is usually enough to protect the child. That is why, as a socially responsible company, we support this initiative», – says Oleksandr Prykhodko, director of information security of Datagroup.
*A study of National community in the UK for the Prevention of Child Abuse suggests that 16 % of the world's children send their intimate photos. In Ukraine today 3 058 630 children aged 11 to 18 years, which is about half a million children send their intimate photos. Of them, a child sends pictures to friends, and one third shares these materials with the people with whom they communicate on the internet only. From January 2017 to June 2018 on the children's hotline in Ukraine turned 2 627 children on issues to sexting and 1 047 children suffered from online grooming.