Teenagers warned not to share explicit images
Police are warning teenagers not to share explicit images via social media.
Officers have been made aware of a number of accounts across the North East sharing explicit images of young people via messaging app Snap Chat.
Police are investigating these accounts to find those responsible but they are warning teenagers to avoid them and not share any indecent images of themselves or others.
Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Sally McDonald, of the Force's Cyber Unit, said: "Our team have been made aware of explicit images being shared through these channels and our team are investigating to find those responsible.
"We know that these people are creating various accounts under pseudonyms and it is now becoming more wide-spread across the region. I want to send a stark warning to those people behind the accounts that by sharing graphic images of a sexual nature they are breaking the law and we will take action."
Parents and carers are asked to speak to children about the dangers of sharing explicit images and where possible to go through their friends list with them to see if there are any inappropriate or suspicious looking contacts.
Detective Sergeant Caroline Byrne, who works at the Victim's Hub as part of Northumbria Police's Safeguarding Department, explained her concerns of the impact this is having on young teens in the area.
"These images are certainly not something that should be shared among teenage girls and boys,” she said. “We know some victims feel pressure to send explicit pictures of themselves and I can't stress enough how damaging this can be.
"These accounts are also sending pictures claiming to be named victims which is simply not the case and again causing a lot of distress to people.
"Our advice is simple - do not send any explicit images of yourself or others to anybody else.”
It is a criminal offence for anyone under the age of 18 to create, possess or share indecent images of themselves or another person under the age of 18. It is also an offence for an adult to create, possess or share images of anyone under the age of 18.
Anyone with any information about these accounts or has found they have had explicit or intimate pictures of themselves shared is asked to contact police on 101.