A tragic story reveals the dangers of transgressive sexting and exposing.

A survey conducted by three Belgian universities revealed that 1 in 4 young people aged 15 to 25 had their nudes shared without their consent. One of those young people was Glen. When Glenn was 15 years old, he made one nude with his phone. But when this photo ended up online, he took his own life. Child Focus reactivated the same phone that once destroyed his life to protect other minors against transgressive sexting and exposing.

CF Call Glenn Integrated FR
Glenn once used his mobile phone to take a nude photo. But when that image ended up online and he took his own life, the phone became a murder weapon. Now, we aim to use it as a tool to combat the online distribution of nude images.

Kasper Janssens

Executive Creative Director, VML Belgium

November 18th is European Day for the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse and Child Focus wanted to raise awareness about transgressive sexting and exposing to instigate legislative change.

In 2023, Child Focus, the Belgian center for missing and sexually exploited children, opened 151 reports on transgressive sexting and exposing, probably a very underestimated number as most victims remain silent because they feel ashamed or are too scared to speak up.

We used the real story of Glenn to show the public what the effects can be of sharing an image without the consent of the person involved. At the same time, we organized a petition to exert political pressure. Child Focus had four requests to help improve the online safety of children.

We reactivated the same phone Glenn once used to make that one picture that destroyed his life. But this time, to protect others, people were invited to call Glenn’s old number and sign an audio petition for better online protection of minors. By doing so, we combined the urgency and necessity for a better legal framework with the possibility to do something about it.

When we found that Orange™ was Glenn’s provider, we set out to find the official voice used in their voicemail messages, a familiar sound to Belgians. When recreating Glenn's voicemail, we used the standard setup, which is similar for any operator. First people heard Glenn say his own name, then we re-recorded the message with the Orange™ voice in the same tonality as any voicemail message. Instead of saying Glenn isn’t available now, she said he’s no longer available, before explaining what happened to him.

On the first day of launch, more than 25, 000 people called Glenn, which surpassed the number required to raise our demands in Belgian parliament. But Glenn’s phone kept ringing, reaching almost 38,000 calls. Meanwhile, the entire country was talking about online safety for children, resulting in more than 1.1 million euros in earned media and a total reach of 40 million people, about four times the population of Belgium. This led parliament to unanimously approve a resolution meeting our four demands for more online safety for kids:

Ensure national coordination and coherent policies, both federal and regional

Ensure a performing legislative framework with uniform and incisive legislation at European level, with effective enforcement

Make online child protection a priority with adequate financial and human resources

Force more responsibility on technology players

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