‘Disturbing’ rise in videos of children who have been groomed into filming their own abuse

Published:  Wed 7 Oct 2020

There has been a “disturbing” rise in the amount of child sexual abuse material which has been produced by children who have been tricked into filming themselves on webcams by online predators.

New data shows that in the first six months of 2020, 44% of all the child sexual abuse content dealt with by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) involved self-generated material.

This is up 15 percentage points on 2019 when, of the 132,676 webpages actioned, almost a third (38,424 or 29%) contained self-generated imagery.

Self-generated content can include child sexual abuse content, created using webcams, sometimes in the child’s own room, and then shared online.

In some cases, children are groomed, deceived or extorted into producing and sharing a sexual image or video of themselves.

The IWF is the UK charity responsible for finding and removing images and videos of children suffering sexual abuse from the internet.

Some of the videos IWF analysts find and remove from the internet contain Category A material – the most severe level of abuse which includes penetrative sexual activity.

Susie Hargreaves OBE is CEO of the IWF. She said parents need to have frank discussions with their children about the internet and the potential dangers of being online.

She said: “Sadly, no child is ever entirely safe from being targeted by predators who are on the look out for children to manipulate. If a child is unsupervised, and has a device with a camera and the internet, there is a possibility that, very quickly, they could be groomed and coerced.

“You may think your child is safe in their bedroom, but even there, they may have been approached by a predator. From there, they can be blackmailed, coerced, or bullied into making videos of themselves for these criminals.

“That we are seeing even more of these videos is a disturbing development, and we would urge parents to speak frankly to their children about the kind of criminals who may be waiting out there.

“The internet is a brilliant place, but we need to make sure everyone is safe while using it.”

Images and videos of online child sexual abuse can be reported anonymously at https://report.iwf.org.uk/en

The public is given this advice when making a report:

  • Do report images and videos of child sexual abuse to the IWF to be removed. Reports to the IWF are anonymous.
  • Do provide the exact URL where child sexual abuse images are located.
  • Don’t report other harmful content – you can find details of other agencies to report to on the IWF’s website.
  • Do report to the police if you are concerned about a child’s welfare,
  • Do report only once for each web address – or URL. Repeat reporting of the same URL isn’t needed and wastes analysts’ time.
  • Do report non-photographic visual depictions of the sexual abuse of children, such as computer-generated images. Anything of this nature, which is also hosted in the UK, the IWF can get removed.

 

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