Back to School Series 1 – Starting High School – Sex, Smartphones and Sexting


Starting high school is a turning point in all young people’s lives. Surrounded by older pupils and on the cusp of becoming young adults themselves, the change between primary and secondary school can be a big one.

When you start your new school, whether you have friends moving up with you or not, most young people will be desperate to fit in with their peers. In an effort to seem more grown up, some new high school pupils could feel pressured into doing things they’re not comfortable with.

Peer pressure

When young people start high school, they are under a huge amount of pressure to fit in.

If their schoolmates are talking about sex, having sex or going out with older people, pupils may feel under pressure to do the same, even if they don’t yet feel ready to start a more adult part of their life.

The best way for parents, teachers and carers to help young people in this situation is to talk to you about peer pressure. This will reassure you that you don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to and helping you to understand that other people in your year are probably feeling the same way. Then it will go some way to helping you make smarter decisions and could stop you from making a mistake you will regret in the future.


To help them stay in touch with them and give them a degree of freedom, a lot of parents give their children a smartphone when they start high school.

Though this is a great way for young people to keep their parents or carers informed about where they are and what they are doing, unfortunately smartphones hold a lot of dangers of their own.

The apps that many young people use to stay in touch with friends and organise social events can be used by strangers to contact school pupils. In some cases, older people then use these apps to groom their targets, drawing them into a dangerous world of exploitation on the way.


Though some young people may see sexting as harmless, sending sexual images, videos or other content to people at school, or older people they meet through social networks or through friends, can be dangerous.

As soon as they send an image or video of themselves to someone else, the other person has control over that content. They can then spread the images around the web, show them to friends or even use them to blackmail the young person into sending more images or doing things that they are not comfortable with.

By keeping an eye on young people who are starting high school for the first time, parents, teachers and carers can help to ease the transition and keep pupils safe from potential dangers.  

Call the Rose Project helpline today on 0808 800 1037 if you’re worried about something that has happened to you and have been affected by CSE.