NOTE: Vices no longer has a continent, it’s everywhere.
A teenage sexting victim has laid bare the shocking world of naked selfies and ‘‘revenge porn’’ at high schools on the Central Coast after the State Government announced a crackdown on the cyber scourge.
Jennifer was suspended in Year 10 for harassing a boy after she played a “little prank” in response to requests from several male students for her to send them a naked selfie.
Instead, she found a random internet photo of another girl’s breasts and sent it to one boy who sent it on to other students, believing it was actually her.
Close friends abandoned her and she was bullied for the rest of her schooling days after the naked photo was shared widely in the playground.
This gave her a reputation as somebody willing to share naked photos of herself.
Four years later she is still traumatised by the incident.
“It was something I thought would be a little prank, but I never realised it would get that bad,” she said. “My close girlfriends and a few of the boys got called up to the principal and one of the boys who had asked me (for the naked selfie) didn’t want to admit to it.
‘‘He put the blame back on me and that’s when it all blew up.
“I ended up getting a three-day suspension for it because the principal said I was harassing the boy — even though everyone was doing it (sharing inappropriate images).
“It made me grow up faster, but I still think about it a lot.
‘‘I wish it never happened.’’
Jennifer’s sexting confessions come as new legislation to criminalise the non-consensual distribution of intimate images — known as revenge porn — was introduced in the NSW Parliament this week.
Attorney-General Mark Speakman said the new laws would deal with photos and videos of a person’s private parts or a person engaging in a private act such as showering or having sex.
If passed, the laws will come into immediate effect.
The maximum jail sentence for children under 16 will be the same as adults.
Jennifer welcomed the Government’s tough stance, saying “there should be punishments for this type of behaviour”.
“Everyone at school should be taught about the punishments, which might make boys more cautious about revenge porn. Boys — and girls — don’t really know the consequences of sharing these photos.
‘‘I never did at the time.”
Teenagers are widely sharing naked selfies, according to a Central Coast victim of sexting.
She revealed students at her high school brazenly shared inappropriate images and messages on social media right under the noses of their teachers.
“My friends, and pretty much everyone else, would use their phones during class,” Jennifer said. “You’d be texting people in another class. Everyone would be Snapchatting — even taking photos of the teacher.
“And with sharing naked pics at school, everyone does it. It pretty much starts at the boyfriend-girlfriend stage. But if you have messy breakup, which often happens, that’s when it blows up and these photos get shared around.
‘‘There are girls who share naked selfies because they want the attention, but it’s mostly the boys pressuring the girls for them.
“The boys started asking me for naked photos in Year 10. It’s a real boy thing: they can’t help but give everyone a look. Within a few days your whole year at school could have seen it.”
The teenager praised parents, principals and police for joining forces to hold an adults-only cyber forum, tackling an ingrained culture of sexting, at Mingara Recreation Club on June 7.
“Most parents wouldn’t have a clue what their kids at school do when they go to bed. When I was at school I usually went to sleep before all my friends, which was at midnight, and they’d be up way later than me till about 2 or 3am talking to boys.
“A lot of it (sexting) is happening at these times.”
* Jennifer is not her real name