Cyber flashing is typically the sending of unsolicited sexual images or content over messages, social media, dating apps or airdrop*. This can happen anywhere, at a gig, at school or very commonly on public transport.
Who does it affect?
Current research shows us that 76% of girls aged 12-18 had been sent unsolicited nude images of boys or men.
What can be done?
Cyber flashing has been included in the government’s new Online Safety Bill, set to be passed this summer. This means those sending unsolicited explicit content “with the purpose of their own sexual gratification or to cause the victim humiliation, alarm or distress”* could face up to two years in prison.
Source: UK Govt Website
What can I do if I become the target of cyber flashing?
You can now report cyber flashing incidents to the police by calling 101. If the incident happened on public transport the British Transport Police have been seen to take this kind of harassment seriously. You can also report to them via 101. If this incident happened at school, university or work, seek support from a teacher, member of staff or manager. It is important to remember that this is a form of cyber harassment and can be violating, humiliating and distressing.
For more information head to Cyberflashing – UK Safer Internet Centre.
*AirDrop is a file and image-sharing function built into Apple devices that allows file sharing to anyone who happens to be close by. The recipient can accept or reject the shared file but will often show a preview of the image meaning that an explicit image will pop up on the screen of the recipient. This is probably the most common way of cyber flashing and is often aimed to target unsuspecting strangers. It is recommended you always have your airdrop settings turned off or set to “contacts only”.