What to do if a minor shares sexual material on networks?

Social media has opened a Pandora's box, one that was already there, no doubt, but is now available to many more people. And these include minors, with all the consequences (legal, educational and health, physical and mental) that this implies. What to do if they are precisely they who share sexual material on networks?

Recently, we spoke with Silvia Pastor who defines herself as “a professional in protecting minors from any abuse”, an expert in internet protection and in children's sexual education (ESI). The reason was a thread that reached her Twitter account: “I have 4 students (2nd ESO) in class sending photos of their genitals as a 'joke' in the WhatsApp group class, some girls who are in the group have taught it to me and it seems that no one knows. What can I do?”

According to Pastor, the first thing in this case is involve the institution's management team. The families of those mainly involved must also be notified and explained to them that they are sharing these images, that they are minors and that it is considered distribution of child sexual exploitation material (the so-called child pornography).

It is also necessary to talk about the risks of these practices with families (sextortion, grooming, deepfake, AI, MAP groups, acronym for People who are attracted to minors) and request that they be stop that behavior immediately because it involves the entire classroom.

Then it is necessary to call a meeting with the rest of the families to notify (without saying names) what was happening in that group and to ensure that their children have not distributed those images because they are possession and distribution of MESI (Child Sexual Exploitation Material).

If it does not exist, it should also create a protocol on these issues in the center, especially affecting families and students. It is important, Pastor also adds, that we should not point out in the classrooms, it is not necessary, but we should speak clearly about the risks involved in practices like that. All the names of those involved, both those who reported what was happening and those who published it, must be confidential.

“Digital and sexual education is essential in early stages – says Pastor -. And I say early because starting in 2nd year of ESO is already late, it should be done much earlier. Keep in mind that even if you do not give them devices, They can connect to many others and usually have accounts on social networks that are often unknown.. In this case it is an unconsciousness resulting from a lack of digital education, a painful concept of privacy, not understanding the risks associated with doing something like that and a long etc.”

If adults, in many cases, have no vision of these risks, we cannot expect minors without adequate digital education to do things well. The problem is that These are minors under 14 years of age, they cannot be held accountable..

“Families must also be involved if their children have child sexual exploitation material on their devices – concludes Pastor -. ¿Who assures that it will not spread? You have to delete it. And, if it has spread, you have to know who and follow “the chain.” You also have to file a police report.”