When Megan moved to a new school, she was desperate to fit in. The fourteen year old was soon pressured on social media to send a naked picture to an older boy who liked her. That boy turned out to be a girl in Megan’s year and the girl sent that picture around their school.
It left Megan feeling,
“Sheer shock at the start. Completely felt sick. Felt completely out of control. I didn’t know where to turn to or who to go to. I didn’t know how to speak up about it.”
On Safer Internet Day, Hampshire Constabulary has released short films to highlight the risks of sending naked images. It wants to show young people where they can turn to for help and to support parents in understanding how they can help their children.
This version of the film is aimed at parents and carers:
Megan was devastated but is now speaking about her experience to help warn young people and educate them about the dangers of sharing such pictures online.
From Hampshire Constabulary, PC Maria Carrick said:
“Together with Megan we have created three versions of our film. One version is aimed at young people, one at parents and one at professionals who work with young people to highlight the risks of sexting. We hope that hearing about Megan’s experience and how she overcame this difficult time will give strength and support to young people who experience bullying and pressure for nude pictures or naked selfies.”
Hampshire Constabulary says it does not aim to criminalise young people caught out by sexting. The force says it can work to stop images being shared and remove them from apps.
It is broadcasting Sending nudes: #ItHappenedToMe on social media and is also sending the film to schools so it can be shown to pupils and staff.
Megan told Isle of Wight Radio,
“At first I tried to pretend it wasn’t happening and turned my phone off. When I went to school the next day it wasn’t that simple because everybody had seen it. I’d been crowded round like a zoo animal and tormented. I couldn’t deal with it any more and did tell a teacher about it and that’s when it started to get sorted.
“Some people completely disassociated themselves from me and refused to talk to me. There were a couple of people that were real rocks for me. My best friend didn’t judge me. She’d be there to support me and make sure I had fun things to look forward to.
“If you haven’t already sent the image then talk to people and get advice. If someone’s pressuring you, they don’t care about you as much as you thought. If you don’t feel comfortable doing something then you don’t need to do it.
“If you have sent an image and it’s gone wrong, don’t keep it to yourself. It will just eat away inside you.
“I want to offer advice and comfort and support to any one going through it. I needed to turn a negative in my life into a positive. By speaking so openly about it, it’s helped me come to terms with it.”
For more information and advice you can find a dedicated website if you click HERE.
Listen: Lucy Morgan tells Megan’s story.