A warning has been issued to schoolchildren and their parents over the consequences of sexting after a student sent sexually explicit images of himself to a girl.
Durham Constabulary was called in after receiving the report relating to students of a secondary school in East Durham.
Many young people see it as harmless fun but may actually be committing criminal offences.Durham Constabulary spokeswoman
The boy has now been referred to Durham County Council’s Children and Young People’s services.
In the wake of the incident, police have urged parents to speak to their children about the risks and potential consequences of sending such images.
A force spokeswoman said: “We received reports that a young male had sent sexually explicit images to a young female.
“We would like to remind youngsters and parents that if a young person under the age of 18 engages in sexting by creating an explicit photo or video of themselves then they have potentially created an indecent image of a child.
“By sending this content on to another person, they have distributed an indecent image of a child.
“By receiving content of this kind from another young person, they are then in possession of an indecent image of a child.
“Many young people see it as harmless fun, but may actually be committing criminal offences.
“Please talk to your kids about the risks.”
Richard Crane, head of education and skills at Durham County Council, said: “We work hard to keep our children safe online, both at home and at school.
“Pupils are taught how to block and report inappropriate content, and how important it is to manage their online presence and respect other people.
“Regular online safety lessons and workshops are delivered as part of the school curriculum, and Year 6 children attend a safety carousel organised by Durham Constabulary.
“Parental support is vital and our schools work hard to keep parents informed about the rapidly evolving uses and misuses of technology.
“Despite the best advice, children can still make mistakes and when they do we provide support based on the individual needs of the child.
“We also assist the school to address the issue and raise awareness about online safety.”
Children can contact their school or Childline for advice about online safety.
Further advice for parents can be found at www.internetmatters.org or from the NSPCC and O2 on 0808 8005002.
Parents are advised they should contact police if they believe a child is at risk.