A HAMPSHIRE teenager has spoken out after a nude picture of herself appeared on social media.

Megan Hinton has been working with the government and schools over the past three years to ensure youngsters are protected when using social media.

This comes after concerns about social media content have recently been raised following the death of a teenager.

This month the government is set to publish a white paper setting out new demands for social media companies to protect young people.

But Marchwood 19-year-old Megan Hinton has now decided to tell her story and backed a campaign led by Hampshire police to raise awareness of the risks of sending nudes on social medial.

Hampshire Chronicle:

Megan said she was 14-year-old and had recently moved to Hounsdown School in Totton when her social media accounts started going through the roof with all her new friends and followers.

The now multimedia journalism student said she had been bullied in the past and was very happy to have become very popular at the new school.

She said the hundreds of followers on social media made her feel confident and she did not think things could get any better, when she thought she’d caught the eye of a boy and they began chatting on social media.

But things were not as they seemed and he asked her to send him a nude photo of her.

Megan said she initially refused but she felt under pressure.

“He asked consistently and I didn’t have anyone I could talk to and I felt everybody was doing that,”she added.

She said she felt she would be bullied if she had not sent him the picture he asked for and so she sent it. But shortly after she realised that her photo had been published on social media and shared around the entire school and beyond.

“I was just shocked, I felt sick to my stomach. I could not understand why someone would do something that nasty. I just thought he would be happy and the pressure would stop,”she said.

After everyone at the school had become aware of what happened, Megan decided to talk to her tutor and the police were informed.

“I felt it was my fault and I didn’t have the right to feel upset. Everything goes back to normal. It is the victim that lives with the consequences,”she said.

Three years ago, Megan decided to tell her story to other students and has never stopped since.

She is now urging youngsters, parents and professionals to talk about the risks of social media and said it is vital they all work together with the police and social media firms to ensure youngsters are protected.

Megan and Hampshire police have produced a film called Sending nudes: #ItHappenedToMe, which marks Safer Internet Day and will be shown in schools.

PC Maria Carrick said: “We don’t seek to criminalise young people we want them to understand we can really help. We hope that hearing about Megan’s experience will give strength and support to young people. We encourage parents and teachers not to be afraid to talk to children about their activities on social media to prevent them from becoming both the victims and perpetrators.”