Having seen the life-changing repercussions of misusing instant messaging and social media, ‘Shane’ from Northern Ireland is urging others to think twice about what they share with others electronically.
Convicted for ‘sexting’ as a teenager, Shane - now in his twenties - is warning others of the dangers.
The Fixer, whose real name has not been used, feels that many young people are unaware of the implications of posting or sharing sexually explicit content online or via text, an act which could carry serious legal consequences and lead to a criminal record.
Though the age of consent is 16 in the UK, it is illegal to take, show or distribute indecent photos of anyone under 18 – even if taken and shared with their permission.
Young people under 18 can also be prosecuted for possessing inappropriate images of other minors, which could result in being placed on the sex offenders register.
‘I know from personal experience the problems that using electronic messaging can lead to,' explains Shane.
‘Mistakes, which take very little time to make, can leave a lasting impact.
‘It has affected all areas of my life: my relationships with friends and family, job prospects and even my mental health.
‘I hope that my campaign will make young people think before they share inappropriate messages or videos. If you wouldn't like it to be about you, don't make it about someone else.’
With Fixers, Shane has helped to create a film telling young people to be mindful of what they post online or send to others.
The short piece focusses on the experience of a young person, played by an actor, who is in police custody after being arrested for ‘sexting’.
Watch 'Instant Message, Permanent Record' at the top of this page.
‘Hopefully the film will make people realise that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable,’ adds Shane.
‘It not only hurts people, but it can have devastating implications on your own life too.
‘I’ve learnt from my past and I hope others take my campaign seriously.’
Shane, who is aiming his Fix at those in their teens and early twenties, plans to post the film on social media and have it shown in schools, where he thinks it will have the most impact.
He adds: ‘Hopefully it can be used by community youth workers, shown in assemblies and will go viral on the internet.
‘This is an issue, which has affected me greatly, so it’s nice to have been given a platform to share my story.
‘My message to others is don’t ruin your life and think before you act.’
Visit the ChildLine website for more information on 'sexting'.
Help Fix it – Share this Story!
Fixer Jade Weatherill wants young people to be more careful
about what they post on social media. See her story.