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14 year old boy criminalised over naked selfie

(39 Posts)
Indinana Thu 03-Sep-15 10:11:47

I find this story rather worrying, that a young boy can potentially have blighted his future career chances because of an act of typical teenage idiocy, taking a naked selfie and sending it to a girl at his school. Not defending him, and not disagreeing with the law on this. But I doubt any youngsters would be aware that they're actually committing a crime in doing this. I know ignorance is no defence in law, so I do hope schools are taking steps to ensure their students are aware of the risks. What do others think?

Lilygran Thu 03-Sep-15 10:32:46

It concerns me as well, Indinana. I'm very surprised that the police apparently have the power to 'log' an alleged offence without arrest or prosecution and that this record is open for 10 years. Should we 'seal' juvenile records the way they do in the USA except in the case of serious crimes? I'm also rather alarmed that the school chose to deal with it rather than letting the parents know and leaving it to them.

vampirequeen Thu 03-Sep-15 11:34:24

I don't understand the crime. It was a photo he took to send to a girl who doesn't appear to have been upset upon receiving it. In fact she happily sent it on to other people and also seems to have committed a crime.

Does this mean that if DH decided to remove all his clothes and parade around in front of me it wouldn't be a crime but if he then took a photo of himself and sent it to me then it would?

Also how can a crime be recorded against him when he hasn't been prosecuted? Sounds like a worrying change in how we can be criminalised without actually being taken to court.

Nelliemoser Thu 03-Sep-15 11:41:44

There is an issue about harrasing the girl with his naked photo. Poor girl we don't know if she was even interested in him in which case it was intrusive.
Hypothetically if such a lad had been pestering or bulling this girl previously it could appear very threatening.
He is yet another young boy with his brain between his legs.

I was a bit put out that his mum said something like "its what they do nowadays". I would have hoped the mum would have taken a tougher line with her son. It is a really stupid thing to put such stuff on social media.

The police keep a lot of intelligence about what I will refer to as "dodgy geezers" Where there is strong suspicion about groomers, sexual predators etc, even if they have never been convicted. This is important with regard to possible sexual abuse issues as those who start this behaviour often progress.

There was a police officer on the Today program saying that if there are no more signs of such behaviour, it should be perfectly possible for discretion to be exercised if he ever needed a " Disclosure and Barring" check because of his job.

This is about safeguarding. There were suspicions about the behaviour of the Soham murderer in a previous police force are but no crime reported so this was not passed on in a "Disclosure and Barring Service" check. One hopes that police forces are much better at doing this now.

Indinana Thu 03-Sep-15 11:44:49

It seems that by sending the photo to someone else, he is guilty of distributing obscene images. And just by taking the photo and keeping it on his own phone he is guilty of making and, I imagine, storing obscene images. I can't remember the actual legal terminology for such 'crimes', but it is something like this.

Ana Thu 03-Sep-15 11:48:40

The girl he sent the photo to had the presence of mind to save it within the 10 seconds before it would be deleted, and send copies to her friends, so it doesn't sound as though she felt harassed.

Apparently her details are also being kept on the police file, and those of another girl.

Indinana Thu 03-Sep-15 11:51:08

I imagine the police consider that she is as guilty as the boy in 'distributing obscene images' Ana.

Who would have thought, all those years ago with the inception of the mobile phone, what a can of worms was being opened?

nigglynellie Thu 03-Sep-15 12:26:48

It was a very stupid and serious thing to have done, but, this is a boy of 14, and young people have a tendency to be thoughtless and very silly, so I would have thought that a severe reprimand both for him and the girl concerned by the police pointing out exactly what was at stake here in the event of a repeat performance would have been sufficient. A criminal record with all it's implications is surely over egging the pudding, particularly as no prosecution has taken place and as it would appear no offense caused.

Indinana Thu 03-Sep-15 12:47:02

Yes, I think you've hit the nail on the head, nigglynellie. I'm sure he had no idea of the possible consequences and a severe reprimand would have been far more appropriate.

Luckygirl Thu 03-Sep-15 12:54:24

Yes - I agree that is it over-egging the pudding. We do not know the nature of the photo - if he was just naked, then that does not seem obscene to me. If he was actively sexually engaged in a solo way, then that might be considered obscene I guess.

Young people need to be able to make mistakes (as opposed to committing serious crimes) without receiving a criminal record - it may be that these sorts of photos are the modern equivalent of stealing sweets from Woolworths for a previous generation. The presence of social media, mobile phones, tablets etc. make possible unfortunate actions that were not there before, when young people would have been exploring sexually in different ways.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 03-Sep-15 13:07:07

Exactly Lg. I don't for one moment he was completely relaxed all over when he took the picture. It was wrong to send the picture to any girl, and she was wrong for sharing it. They deserve what they have got. Time to start thinking kids. hmm

nigglynellie Thu 03-Sep-15 17:14:07

No, they don't deserve what they got! They're just silly foolish showing off teenagers! Let's face it, we've all had them, but in the days before social media they couldn't get into quite such serious trouble, and certainly need to be made aware of that. Nothing more.

harrigran Thu 03-Sep-15 17:22:04

At fourteen they are well aware of the implications of using a phone in this way. Teenagers are more promiscuous than they were in previous decades. Would a teenager walk down the street naked ? then why would they send photos of themselves naked ? Time they started taking responsibility for their actions.

Luckygirl Thu 03-Sep-15 17:36:43

Children feel coerced into certain behaviours by peer pressure. The idea that shaved pubes are expected for instance; or consent to oral sex. If you don't go along with these things you are seen as a nerd. Above all else our teenagers (both boys and girls) need to have self-respect in order to resist the pressure - that is the best gift we can give them as they grow up; and it is not easy.

vampirequeen Thu 03-Sep-15 18:13:31

Do you really believe they deserve a ruined future just for being daft at the age of 14? I did some really stupid things in my teens (admittedly not naked pictures) which I cringe about now as an adult.

If he'd been bullying the girl or she was upset I could understand it but it seems that, as she's been punished too, she wasn't bothered at all.

We may not agree with what the young boy did but surely the public humiliation was sufficient punishment in this case.

Anne58 Thu 03-Sep-15 18:29:15

The ridiculous thing is, that as the law stands, if he had been 18, sent the photo to his girlfriend and she then distibuted it, he would be regarded as a victim of "revenge porn" and she could have been prosecuted!

Crafting Thu 03-Sep-15 18:57:50

Are girls who send photos of themselves to boys in trouble too? Silly, reckless and very embarrassing for him and his family but I agree with other if there was no sense of bullying then childish behaviour. I am far more concerned with young people being coerced into sending photos of themselves and then being blackmailed.

JessM Thu 03-Sep-15 19:07:07

I am unhappy about the fact that a senior teacher can interrogate a child about something that he has done outside school, in the prescence of a police officer, without first informing the parents and it can then become recorded by the police. Police are not allowed to interview children in this way - but it seems that if the teacher does the interrogation in the presence of a police officer they can circumvent his rights and protections under the law.
Meanwhile the girl that circulated the images...?
"Sexting" is, unfortunately common practice amongst UK teenagers. This includes taking pictures of themselves involved in sexual acts and sending them to friends.
Schools have a responsibility to educate children about the dangers of this. Why?
Firstly because they teach PHSE (sex education) and if they do it well, this issue should be covered, and covered by the time the kids are 11 or 12. (Don't do it, why, what if someone else does it, what if someone asks you to do it etc etc)
Secondly because schools need to have up to date IT use policies to inform both staff and students about what is and is not proper use of school equipment, school software etc.
Thirdly because schools should have an anti-bullying policy - and be active in combatting bullying of all types.

Indinana Thu 03-Sep-15 19:12:14

Good post JessM.

FarNorth Thu 03-Sep-15 19:19:19

If he'd been bullying the girl or she was upset I could understand it but it seems that, as she's been punished too, she wasn't bothered at all.

We can't assume that.
He may have been pestering her previously, and she reacted by speedily sending his photo on to others, in an attempt to humiliate him and get him to stop.

rosesarered Thu 03-Sep-15 19:21:17

It's all a can of worms, and new worms which we are not used to!
Pictures, or words, once 'out there' cannot be taken back, and that goes for what we write on here too, it's all public for ever and ever.Quite a thought, isn't it?

trisher Thu 03-Sep-15 19:30:00

I suspect that one of the problems is the amount of easily accessible porn on the internet. If you can see pictures of people naked and engaged in sex acts quite easily you perhaps begin to regard such things as a part of normal life. Adding one of yourself would seem a small thing to do. Considering the legality of what you were doing would be unthinkable. Especially at the age of 14.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 03-Sep-15 19:38:28

Parents and teachers need to talk about this to kids. And talk clearly so that they understand. I don't think there is always enough moral/ emotional guidance given at home to young people.

And why do children of this age need phones with cameras? Spoilt brats in the material sense and deprived in the emotional sense.

vampirequeen Thu 03-Sep-15 21:40:12

It's not easy to access porn on the internet anymore. You have to contact your internet provider, admit to wearing a dirty raincoat and ask them to unblock porn sites.

Ana Thu 03-Sep-15 21:46:20

I wouldn't know...shock