The IWF has warned momentum must not be lost in the fight to protect children from predators and abusers online as key legislation suffers a delay in Parliament.
It has been reported that the Online Safety Bill, which had been due to be discussed in Parliament next week, will be pushed back until at least the autumn.
Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the Internet Watch Foundation, said: “This delay is very worrying and we know it is children who will suffer the most.
“With so much up in the air, we must never lose focus on the most vulnerable people in our society – the people this Bill ultimately is intended to help.
“Ensuring internet safety for all has been a manifesto commitment for the Government – with three general elections being won by a party promising to bring this legislation forward - and has considerable cross-party support.
“The pandemic has seen a disturbing 374% increase in the levels of “self-generated” material, where children have been groomed or coerced into abusing themselves on camera, often in their own homes, by internet predators.
“In 2019, IWF analysts took action to remove 38,424 URLs containing this kind of material. This shot up in 2021, when we confirmed 182,281 URLs contained these images or videos.
“We must make sure momentum is not lost in the fight to protect children from predators and abusers.”