Childline has launched a new app to help teenagers avoid unwanted requests for sexual images of themselves.
The app, Zipit, has been updated following figures from Childline, which reveal the NSPCC service held almost 3,000 counselling sessions about ‘sexting’ and self-generated explicit images in 2016/17. 'Sexting' was also the most viewed topic on the Childline website last year.
The free app provides a gallery of images and GIFs, many of which are humourous, for young people to text in response to requests for sexual pictures.
NSPCC CEO Peter Wanless said many young people tell Childline they “feel pressured into sending sexual images of themselves and don’t always have the confidence to say no”.
“Once a teenager sends an image of themselves they have no control over where it is shared or who sees it, and sometimes images can end up online.”
“This can leave a child feeling humiliated and even lead to them being bullied or blackmailed. By using humour Zipit helps young people take control of online chatting that becomes awkward or pressurised and support them if something goes wrong.”
The app also includes advice on safe online chatting and what young people should do if they feel threatened or if an image becomes public. If a young person is worried about an image they have shared, they can visit childline.org.uk/remove and follow the steps to have the image taken down from the internet.