Screen Time: Tackling the sexualisation of children and young people

​Chaired by Tam Baillie, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, this event will cosider the steps required to tackle the sexualisation of children and young people.


Sexting is now an established part of most children and young people’s sexual development. 

This may seem like a shock tactic but it is reality. The most shocking of all the research is how early children are now exploring this method of developing ‘relationships’, with reports of 7 year olds taking part in exchanging “pics” with other children.

The Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act is coming into force in April and mounting pressure to make sex education compulsory, particularly in faith schools, this issue has never been at a more crucial discussion point. Children and young people are aware of the issues but recent research commissioned by Barnardo’s in England has proved a large percentage of children would feel safer if they had sex and relationship education. 

Boys are all too often the first to shoulder the blame. However, boys are under extreme pressure from their peers to meet the new standards of macho expectation and this, coupled with the ready availablility of extreme pornography is having a poisonous and disastrous impact on the way they view sex and healthy relationships.

Key Issues to be addressed

•    Explore some of the root causes as to why sexting and pornography has become so ubiquitous
•    The long term impacts sexting and pornography has on our children and young people’s sexual development
•    Discuss and debate the role of professionals, parents and guardians to help inform, educate and support the children in your care – an opportunity to share practice


Session One:      Setting the scene

09:00     Registration and Refreshments

09:30     Welcome address from The Chair

Tam Baillie, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland

09:40     Opening keynote: Keeping Our Children Safe – The Political Response​

Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, Lib Dems and Deputy Convener, Children & Young People Cross Party Group

  • A brief history of parliamentary attempts to legislate for child protection
  • Does policy follow or shape culture in this area
  • Walking the line between children’s rights and child protection

10:00  Questions with Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP

10:15     “…I wasn’t sure it was normal to watch it…”: The impact of online pornography on the values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of 11-16 year olds

Dr Miranda Horvath, Associate Professor of Forensic Psychology and Deputy Director of Forensic Psychological Services, Middlesex University

  • Findings from the first national survey of a representative sample of secondary school boys and girls from the four nations of the United Kingdom regarding their attitudes and feelings about online pornography will be outlined
  • Findings will focus on: Which children reported seeing pornography; feelings and attitudes towards online pornography; risks and harms; sexting; young people as critical users of pornography and young people’s views on intervention
  • Implications of the research for young people, policy makers, practitioners and researchers will be discussed​​ 

10:35     Questions with Dr Miranda Horvath

10:55     Refreshments

Session Two:      Developing healthy relationships

11:15  5Rights: Young people’s rights in the digital world

Allan Lindsay, Digital Academy Manager, Young Scot

  • Young people’s rights and the UNCRC
  • Empowering young people to lead on the issue (the 5Rights Youth Commission)
  • How we can all help to better recognise young people’s rights online

11:35    Healthy relationships in early primary settings 

Amy Marshall, Development Officer, Zero Tolerance

  • Gender role in the formative years
  • Sexting in the context of gender inequality
  • Violence against girls in the school system

11:55     How can services respond in a fast moving environment

Daljeet Dagon, National CSE Programme Manager, Barnardo’s Scotland

Drawing on Barnardo’s Scotland’s experiences of supporting children and young people across Scotland, and Barnardo’s Scotland/CYCJ research in this area, Daljeet  will provide observations on

  • Identifying and responding to online child sexual abuse and exploitation
  • Supporting younger children
  • Gender issues in CSE

12:15     Questions and discussion

12:30     Lunch

Session Three:      The outcomes for our young people

13:30     Education or Prosecution; Is it always our decision?

Tim Parkinson, Professional Officer, SASW           

  • When are children criminalised and can we always avoid it?
  • The “lottery” of where when and how responses are created
  • An international aspect

13:50     Tootoot - The Award Winning, Government Backed, Online Pupil Voice and Safeguarding Platform

Cameron Beasley, Customer Support Lead for Scotland and the North East

  • Pupil voice – giving a louder voice to those in need
  • Optional incident reporting and parent feature
  • Insightful reporting with real time data         

14:10     The strong link between Parents and Teachers

Eileen Prior, Executive Director, SPTC

14:30     Questions and discussion

14:50     Chairs closing remarks

15:00     Conference close

The full agenda and speaker lineup will be available in due course. 

Venue and costs

Event location: Central Edinburgh

  • Discounted rate: £149 + VAT (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Reduced rate: £199 + VAT (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Full rate: £299 + VAT (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

For more information please contact Mark Riding, by email or phone 0131 285 1614

28 March 2017
United Kingdom



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