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Young people want more education on healthy relationships

By Yusuf Tamanna

The majority of young people feel they haven't received sufficient education in developing and managing healthy relationships, according to new findings from CEOP and Brook's Digital Romance report.

The report spoke to over 2,000 young people aged 14-24 about a range of topics including sexting, flirting online, meeting up and intimacy. Young people said they wanted teachers, parents and youth workers to provide positive spaces where they could talk and learn about developing successful and healthy relationships.

Furthermore, they wanted their own peers to demonstrate kinder behaviour online and not participate in harmful activities, such as sharing other people’s naked photos without consent and slut shaming.

The report found over a third of young people admitted to sending a naked photos of themselves to someone else online. A further 52% said they received such an image, with 55% of girls admitting they were sent naked photos regularly.

Image: Digital Romance report

Many of them said they sent nude photos as a form of flirtation, a way to demonstrate body confidence or due to pressure from a partner. Just 20% said they sent nudes of themselves to their friends just for fun.

Dr Elly Hanson, a clinical psychologist who worked on the report alongside Dr Ester McGeeney, said: ‘We were struck by the many ways in which digital technology can exacerbate both the highs and lows of young peoples' love lives.

'For example, we found that it can heighten closeness and intimacy in healthy realtionships, and on the other hand it can be used to assert and enforce sexist attitudes.'

Dr Hanson hopes the findings from the report will encourage parents to meet the needs of young people by having open and honest conversations about the qualities, skills and joys of healthy relationships both online and offline.


Further reading:

Meeting others: the particular challenges for LGBTQ+ children.

A parent’s guide to sexting.