Tyne & Wear

South Tyneside sex culture scheme gets lottery grant

A charity has been granted more than £400,000 in lottery money to protect young people from what it says are the dangers of sexualised popular culture.

The Federation of Community Associations in South Tyneside (FOCAST) said it would go into local schools and give talks to pupils.

The aim was to stop young people forming abusive relationships, it said.

The Big Lottery Fund said the grant would "help ensure that young people protect themselves".

FOCAST project coordinator Jane Slesser said young people's relationships had "become increasingly complicated", because of pornography, "sexting" and sexualised music videos and video games.

Sexting is the practice of people send revealing pictures of themselves via text messages.

"It puts a lot of pressure on them to live up to unrealistic expectations," she said.

She added that the charity's talks would help "contextualise" the messages young people got from sexualised culture.

The charity said a recent inquiry by the Health Select Committee had heard that sexting, cyber-bullying and explicit online content contributed to children's mental health problems.

Tim Davies-Pugh, England deputy director for the Big Lottery Fund, said the grant would help protect young people from "exposure to sexualised content on social and mainstream media".

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