Child Focus campaign uses story of victim to highlight dangers of sexting
For its new campaign highlighting the dangers of sexting, Child Focus is using the phone number of 15-year-old Glenn, who died by suicide in 2017 after his nude picture was shared online by a third party. People calling his number will hear Glenn's story and sign a petition calling for better protection for young people from online sexual exploitation.
To mark 18 November, European Day for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, Child Focus is calling for more attention to be paid to protecting young people online. The campaign focuses on Glenn. After his nude picture and name appeared on the internet, he received a barrage of hateful comments and he later took his own life.
Anyone calling 0492 79 58 30 can hear Glenn's story and sign a petition to better protect young people from online sexual exploitation. Through the campaign, Child Focus is calling for more attention to the issue, an adapted legislative framework and more resources for prevention and counselling for victims.
Cases on the rise
In 2022, Child Focus opened 151 cases of "transgressive sexting", the exchange of sexually explicit messages or images via digital media under pressure or without consent.
"We are seeing an increase in the number of files of transgressive sexting," says Child Focus director Heidi De Pauw. "Behind every file is a young person who needs help. Both perpetrators and the many bystanders who witness transgressive online behaviour often fail to realise that what happens online can have serious offline consequences."
© BELGA PHOTO SISKA GREMMELPREZ