Why Young People Sext

Tash Bright No Comments

This week our Lets Talk About Sexting campaign takes a look into some of the reasons why young people sext. This campaign aims to raise awareness around the growing concern of young people sexting in order to prevent some unpleasant consequences. Last week we looked into the laws surrounding sexting, which is a good place to start if you are unsure of the  legalities surrounding sexually suggestive images.

Even though young people sexting has quickly become a major concern for teachers, parents/carers and young people themselves, it is important to note that NSPCC research has found that most young people are not sharing sexual imagery of themselves. Despite this, the same research found that over 13% of boys and girls had taken topless pictures of themselves (one in four of those were girls) and 3% had taken fully naked pictures. Out of this group 31% had also shared the image with someone that they did not know.

Research conducted by The Key discovered that school head teacher members placed sexting as a concern higher than drugs, obesity and offline bullying. Similarly, the PSHE Association found that 78% of parents were either fairly concerned or very concerned about youth produced sexual imagery.

With so many people concerned about young people sexting, it is important to look into why young people sext in the first place, so we can better understand what methods may help to reduce the negative consequence that can ensue.

1. Curiosity

Sexting is often the result of young people’s natural curiosity about sex. As young people start taking risks and pushing boundaries as they become more sexually and socially aware, they may produce or share sexual imagery without fully understanding the consequences of what they are doing. Difficulties in defining harmful sexual behaviours displayed by young people are made worse by the general lack of knowledge of childhood sexuality and what constitutes normal behaviour.

In research conducted by Spirto, the majority of young people knew the risks of sexting and they tried to manage these risks by excluding their faces in the images.

Whilst there is no doubt that the online world has created opportunities for young people to explore, experiment, socialise, create and educate themselves in ways which were previously unavailable, it has also exposed young people to the risk of harm, including  from seeing extreme pornography and from sexting.


2. Enhancing Relationships

As young people begin entering into romantic/sexual relationships, they may use sexting as a way of exploring and enhancing their relationship. The instant validation and affirmation that is felt when the messages are received positively is seen as a fun form of flirting and encourages more of the same behaviour.

In cases where consent has been given by both parties, the young people see fewer risks of sharing sexually suggestive images. This is especially the case where the young people trust each other and think they will be with that person forever. Unfortunately, if the relationship ends, the same explicit messages that were shared in confidence are often shared with others in contempt.


3. Having a Laugh

Young people may send each other sexually suggestive pictures as a joke. This could be between friends on apps like Whatsapp or Snapchap. Snapchat is particularly interesting, as it very popular with young people. The common belief with Snapchat is that images/videos you take and upload only stay up for a certain amount of time, then are deleted. This is no longer the case, as most smartphones now have a ‘screenshot’ function, meaning the images can be captured by the recipient. After this, the sender has no control of where the image may end up.


4. Feeling Pressured

Recognising a distinction between young people who willingly seek to make and send sexual images and those who feel some element of coercion is important within gender debates. NSPCC research has shown that girls are effected at a higher rate than boys regarding being pressured or coerced into sending sexual messages. They may find it difficult to say no if somebody asks them for an explicit image, especially if the person asking is persistent.

There is evidence that girls may have more negative sexting experiences, with the potential for partner and peer pressure to make and send images, and the need to negotiate the social and cultural double standards of female sexual reputation if their activities are made public.

Young boys are more likely to feel peer pressure in regards to obtaining sexual images of girls. In the same NSPCC research, boys explained in interviews about how they got ratings for being brave, having money and ‘getting girls’ and were worried about their sexuality being brought into question if they did not follow the group’s actions.

For young people, the ‘stranger danger’ is not the primary technology related threat – it is technology mediated sexual pressure from their peers. Pressures that young people may encounter regarding sending sexually suggestive images can quickly escalate into feeling harassed, threatened or blackmailed into sending pictures.



5. Boosts Self-esteem

For many young people, it is often the case that pictures are produced and shared in the means of boosting their self-esteem. Sending pictures can be can be associated with compliments and affirmation about looking good.

The multi-layered nature of sexual interactions means that sexting has many dimensions and complexities. If a young person is sharing sexual imagery with multiple people, this could be an indication that there are other issues that they need support with.


6. It's Normal

Young people may express the belief that sexting is normal, to the point that if you are in a relationship, it would be weird not to. This point of view is reaffirmed by sexting cases consistently cropping up in the media, as well celebrities saying things like ‘It’s ok to send things as long as you cover your face.’

Issues around female sexting are often linked to broader moral concerns about the sexualisation of girls within popular culture and the pressures they face to live up to gendered sexual ideals.



If you have been affected by any aspect of sexting you can get help from the organisations bellow:

Childline – 0800 11 11 or in an online chat athttp://www.childline.org.uk/Talk/Chat/Pages/OnlineChat.aspx

If parents and carers are concerned about their child, they can contact the NSPCC – 0808 800 5000, by emailing [email protected], or by texting 88858.

They can also ring the Online Safety Helpline by ringing 0808 800 5002.


Here are some great resources to find out more about the issues surrounding sexting.



Self Raising: Fundraising and Baking

Tash Bright No Comments

Last week saw some Sheffield Futures staff donning their chef hats and baking sweet treats for our Dambuskers event that helped raise money to keep our Get on Track programme running.

The Get On Track programme is a mentoring programme led by world-class athletes and spearheaded by the Dame Kelly Trust. Aimed at young people aged between 16-25, the programme helps improve the communication, teamwork, confidence and health and well-being of the young people involved. So far 70% of young people who have taken part in Get On Track have moved into employment, education or training within five months.

The Dambuskers event, held at Dam House last Saturday, was a great success with amazing live acts, special guests, as well as outdoor BBQs, a cake sale, games and a raffle. The event raised a whopping £362.22 and to celebrate this achievement, we will be sharing one of our favourite cupcake recipes from the event, as it went down a treat! The courgette cake recipe is a Nigella Lawson original but, in my opinion, was perfected by our very own Sheffield Futures’ staff member Viky. The courgettes for the cupcakes were grown in her allotment! You can also see more pictures from the Dambuskers event below.


Courgette Cake

Cake Ingredients:

60g Raisins

50g Chopped Walnuts

250g Courgettes (weighed before grating)

2 Large Eggs

125ml Vegetable Oil

150g Caster Sugar

225g Self-Raising Flour

½ tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

½ tsp Baking Powder


Lemon Curd



Preheat oven to 180C / Gas Mark 4. Put the Kettle on and make yourself a cup of tea.




Pour some hot water from kettle on to the raisins to make them juicier.



Grate the courgettes and remove excess water by sieving.



Cream eggs, oil and sugar together in a bowl



Sieve in the flour, bicarb, baking powder until well combined



Stir in the courgette, drained raisins, and walnuts.




Split Mixture across 2 greased 21cm cake tins and bake for 30minutes.




Cool on a rack while making the icing.


Here are some more pictures from the Dambuskers event.

brall-dambuskets-2 cake-sally-future-shapers14203283_10154586658126091_3803330483475634123_cn  brall-dambuskets    14102748_10154588686711091_6red-cake-helena-489340064106551919_n





Lets Talk About Sexting

Tash Bright No Comments

Today, Sheffield Futures launches our new campaign, ‘Let’s Talk About Sexting’, to address the issues young people face regarding sexting and how we can prevent the often devastating consequences. Each week Sheffield Futures will be focusing on a specific issue surrounding sexting beginning with the legalities concerning sexting, so that you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Sharing photos and videos online is part of daily life. The availability and convenience of apps such as Snapchat, Whatsapp, Facebook, Instgram and Skype means that we are always increasing our digital footprint, which is notoriously hard to erase.

Currently 90% of 16-24 year olds and 69% of 12-15 year olds own a smartphone meaning more people than ever have the ability to quickly and easily record their lives and share experiences. With this is mind, it is important that you know the ins and outs of the laws surrounding sexting.

What is Sexting?

Sexting is defined as sending or posting sexually suggestive texts/images. People may have told you that sending ‘indecent’ imagery under the age of 18 is illegal. This created confusion because whether something is ‘decent’ can be dependent on the situation and may be different depending on the values of who you are speaking to. For this reason, the word ‘indecent’ has been replaced with ‘sexual’.

1.1 what is sexting

At What Age is Sexting Illegal?

Even though the age of sexual consent is 16, it is illegal to produce, store or share sexual imagery of anyone under the age of 18.consent 16

What if I have taken a Sexual Image of Myself?

Whether you are the person in the picture or not does not make a difference when it comes to the law. Anyone under the age of 18 who takes a sexual selfie risks being prosecuted for creating child pornography.


What if I am under 18 but am in a relationship and sent a picture to my boyfriend/girlfriend?

In this case, both you and your partner are breaking the law, even if your partner didn’t ask for the picture. Possessing images of a young person under the age of 18 is illegal, even when both of you are under 18.

1.3youre in the pic

I received a sexual image of someone under the age of 18. Can I share it with friends?

Even if you had nothing to do with the creation of the image, sharing such imagery is still breaking the law. Depending on the intent and malice in which the images were shared, will depend on the severity of the consequences.

Will I get a criminal record if I am found to be making, possessing or distributing imagery of anyone under 18?

The law criminalising indecent images of children was created to protect young people from adults and sexual abuse. It was not intended to criminalise children. None the less, where police have been notified, the incident will be listed as a ‘crime’ and the young person involved will be a ‘suspect’. Outcome 21 was created specifically for such cases and helps to formalise the discretion available to police when handling crimes such as youth produced content.



Next week we will be focusing on why young people send sexual imagery.


If you are a young person who has been affected by sexting or are a parent or carer of a young person involved in sexting, you can contact the below helplines:

Childline – 0800 11 11 or in an online chat athttp://www.childline.org.uk/Talk/Chat/Pages/OnlineChat.aspx

If parents and carers are concerned about their child, they can contact the NSPCC Helpline by ringing 0808 800 5000, by emailing [email protected], or by texting 88858. They can also ring the Online Safety Helpline by ringing 0808 800 5002.

The NSPCC has information and advice about sexting available on its website: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/sexting/1

1.5 5 sext law

5 Steps To Deal With Back-to-School Stress

Tash Bright No Comments

If you are one of the many young people that have gone back to school today, then I hope you had a great first day! It can be daunting heading back to school after the summer holidays, which can lead to stress and anxiety but we’re here to help. Here’s 5 steps to help you cope with returning to school.

Step 1   Look after yourself:

Sometimes we often forget abut the importance of the basics. Are you getting enough sleep, eating regular meals and healthy snacks. It hard to focus on anything if you’re exhausted and running on an empty tank.


Step 2   Talk to Someone:

Ever heard the saying a problem shared is a problem halved. If you’re worried, a good way to rationalize things is to sometimes get it out in the open and share your worries with someone you can trust – perhaps a best friend or a parent.


Step 3   Problem solve:

You could write a list of all the things that are worrying you about going back to school and start developing ways you can cope with each of these worries. It’s sometimes best to do this with someone you trust, as they may be able to give you a different perspective on the worst case scenarios you are imaging might happen. For example, If (the worst) happens, what could you do?” or “Let’s think of some ways you could handle that situation.”


Step 4   Focus on the positives: 

You should always try and think of positive aspects of returning to school because there may be more than you think. What are three things you are most excited about?


Step 5   Get support:

It’s great if you have your own support system but remember there are always people who are here to help. As well as parents and friends – you can contact our team at Sheffield Futures to have a chat about how we can help you.


Looking to the Future After GCSE results

Tash Bright No Comments

If you are one of the many young people who received their GCSE results today, congratulations on completing what can be a daunting step. The anticipation of results day can stressful to say the least, especially if you need to obtain certain results to move on to the next stage of your life, such as college.

Sheffield Futures is here to help you. We particularly want to support young people who may feel panicked, as they didn’t get the results they wanted. There are definitely alternative ways in which you can reach your full potential, so know that it is not the end of the world. In fact, there are so many routes to success these days and some may suit you more than the traditional routes you initially pursued.

Here at Sheffield Futures our specialist Careers Advisor are happy to chat with you and listen to your ideas or worries about your future and employment. Our Careers Advisors have the experience to guide you through what options may be available, as well as what may suit your skills and ambitions.

Sheffield Futures can discuss anything from apprenticeships to job hunting with you, as well as going through benefits advice for under 18 year olds.

Call into Star House any weekday between these times: Mon – Thurs: 9am-5pm; and Fri: 10am-4.30pm.

Help raise funds for Sheffield Futures

Tash Bright No Comments

Sheffield Futures is proud to announce we will be donning our trainers and sweatbands and taking part in the Asda Foundation Sheffield 10K run.

The run will be taking place on 30th October 2016 and Sheffield Futures are calling our supporters to get involved and help fundraise for our charity.

If you’re anything like me and the thought of running (besides running for the bus) fills you with dread, worry not. Click here to download a variety of training plans that cater to all levels. To set you on your way, Sheffield Futures will be providing our amazing fundraisers with a complimentary Sheffield Futures running top, a sports water bottle and a Sheffield Futures sports bag.

If you or anyone you know might be interested in taking part to help raise money to support vulnerable young people across Sheffield and are 15 years of age and above, please email [email protected]. Sheffield Futures will happily reimburse your cost of entering the race (£ 27.82), if you manage to raise £60 or over.

As well as the huge sense of achievement you will feel after completing the race and raising money for young people’s futures, you will also receive a medal. What more could you ask for!

Sheffield Futures celebrate International Youth Day

Tash Bright No Comments

Young people are celebrated around the world every year on 12 August, which marks International Youth Day. Here at Sheffield Futures, we couldn’t miss the chance to get involved, as putting young people at the forefront of positive change is what we’re all about.

We held our very own International Youth Day in Sheffield’s Amphitheatre, which saw young people and the Sheffield Futures team being bucked off broncos, scoring some impressive goals, an intense game of tug-o-war and much more.

The weather was perfect. The sun was shining and the stunning backdrop of Sheffield’s city centre landscape made for the perfect location. The day was chiefly organised by the Sheffield Futures Community Youth Team (CYT) who work with young people aged 8-19 who need extra support to help them make the most of their lives. Broadcast station Sheffield Live even popped down to the event and spoke to Joanne Holt, our North CYT Manager.

Youth Day 4

We would like to thank everyone that made it down to the event, especially the young people who put our staff to shame when it came to most of the games, the lemon challenge in particular!

What is International Youth Day All About?

Created in 2000 by the United Nations, International Youth Day focuses on celebrating the energy, initiatives and the imagination of young people.

This year’s focus was “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production.” It centered around putting the emphasis on young people as a source of change and how young people can ensure poverty eradication and achieve sustainable development in the future, through sustainable consumption and production.

If you would like to find out more about International Youth Day, please follow the links.



How young volunteers are transforming Sheffield’s communities

Tash Bright No Comments

Young volunteers from Sheffield Futures, are giving their time and energy at organisations around Sheffield to make positive changes in the community.

Sheffield Futures social action project, Sheffieldr, has enlisted young people aged between 11-19 who are enthusiastic to get involved with all projects big and small. Volunteering ensures positive change in the young people’s lives, as they gain valuable experience such as teamwork and life skills.

Benefits can also be felt in the wider community. Volunteering with Sheffield Futures has seen the young people paint a mural to represent diversity at Parson Cross Boxing Gym and has more recently seen a team of young volunteers restore life back to the gardens at Herdings Youth Club.

The young people volunteering at Herdings Youth Club garden heard about the project through Community Youth Team’s youth club at Woodthorpe. The group worked hard to tame the overgrown outdoor space and now have plans to revive the faded flower beds and introduce fruit and veg to the garden. Once the garden is complete, local primary schools will be invited to explore and tend to the gardens.

The Sheffield Futures youth social action projects oppose the often negative portrayal of young people today. Think tank, Demos analysed six UK newspapers over the past 10 years and found that the words most commonly associated with “teenagers”, “youth” and “young people” were “binge-drinking”, “yobs” and “crime”. The time that the young volunteers dedicate to each project at Sheffield Futures mirror recent national research conducted by Business in the Community. Statistics show that young people are using volunteering to further their career aims and gain new skills more than any other age group and 80% of employers value volunteering on a CV.

Volunteering in the community also gives the young people the chance to work as part of a team. The one-off volunteering projects are a great way for young people to see the positive change that they have made in one day. One young person said that they felt “very proud” of the difference that their work has made to Herdings Youth Club garden.

Another young person who volunteered with Sheffieldr explained that “It was nice to get involved in laying the foundation of the Mural in our boxing gym to enable us to take control and make it attractive.”

Sheffield Futures are always looking for young volunteers to get involved and organisations that may be in need of transforming a community space. It is a unique and exciting opportunity that will see young volunteers help organisations for free for one day events or over a couple of sessions.

Future Shapers give young people an Xtra Push

Ruth Durkin No Comments

Students participating in the Future Shapers programme have successfully completed Xtra Push – a fun-filled personal development training programme aimed at helping young people to gain confidence, assertiveness, control and show commitment.

Associate Leader, Yasmin Celik said: “Xtra Push has been a very positive programme for our students and we’re very happy to celebrate the success of Future Shapers at Chaucer. It really is a fantastic programme for young people and I’m so happy that everyone is fully engaging with it.”

Sheffield Futures runs the Future Shapers programme where all participants have their own Mentor who tailors support to meet their needs. This could be to gain confidence, attend extra-curricular activities, improve attendance, gain qualifications, socialise with other young people, search for employment and much more.

Future Shapers Mentors deliver Xtra Push to students on the programme. The course gives young people a chance to seize opportunities, build resilience and motivate personal change.

Chaucer Students have enjoyed Xtra Push, Kayleigh Stanton and Megan Allott said: “I liked the teamwork sessions and games.”

Y10 Student Charlie Drayton said: “I really liked Xtra Push, the course was eye-opening and it has really helped me with my team-work and confidence. It has also made me realise what I would like to do when I leave school.”

Assistant Head Teacher Gemma Furness said: “They were all so much calmer after the sessions.“ Y10 Manager Alison Scholey, agreed and said: “I think it’s helped with their self confidence, I’ve seen a real difference.”




Members of Youth Parliament for Sheffield launch campaign against racism and religious discrimination

Ruth Durkin No Comments

Six Members of Sheffield Youth Parliament (MYPs) are joining almost 300 elected Members of Youth Parliament in launching a year long campaign to combat racism and religious discrimination, particularly against people who are Muslim and Jewish.

The National Day of Action on Friday 22nd January saw Members of Youth Parliament call on politicians and schools to join their campaign ‘Don’t Hate, Educate!’ in their strive to “help young people speak out” about racism and religious discrimination. In Sheffield, Youth Councillors will support MYPs when they meet with their local MPs.

Over the next year, UK Youth Parliament will campaign to challenge negative attitudes around race and religion; work with others to educate their communities in order to tackle ignorance around race and religion; and promote integration in their communities. The campaign starts following the Make Your Mark ballot which took place in the autumn of 2015 seeing the issue become one of the top five with 95,000 young people nominating it as their most important issue and then the subsequent vote by Members of Youth Parliament in House of Commons to make this their national campaign in November 2015.

Eleri Kirkpatrick, Member of Youth Parliament who spoke passionately on this issue at the House of Commons debate in November, said: “I’m really pleased this was voted in as our national campaign as we shouldn’t tolerate ignorance, hatred and racism in our society.”

Nick Clegg Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam and former Deputy Prime Minister said: “As a liberal, I believe no one should be persecuted or discriminated against because of who they are. It was great to see young people politically engaged and taking action to educate their peers and raise awareness. I will be lending my support to the Youth Parliament’s ‘Don’t Hate, Educate’ campaign and put pressure on the government to continue the fight to eliminate hate crime altogether.”

The issue is thought to have come out as one of the top issues for young people in the Make Your Mark youth consultation, following increases in race and religion related hate crimes between 2014 and 2015. In England and Wales the Home Office reported there were 42,930 race related hate crimes (representing a 15% increase from the year before) and 3,254 religion related hate crimes (43% increase from the year before). Similarly in Northern Ireland, 2,277 race related incidents and crimes were reported showing a 36% increase from the year before. 80 religion related crimes and incidents were also reported showing an increase of 116% from the year before according to Police Service of Northern Ireland. The only exception in this trend has been in Scotland where the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service reported there was a 9% decrease race related hate crimes and a 4% decrease religiously aggravated crimes.

How you can help

Our charity is dedicated to helping Sheffield's young people to reach their full potential and achieve the best out of life, whatever their starting point. To help us to do more to support young people and communities we need your help. Just remember, every penny you donate will make a difference.