Thousands of sexually explicit images of children and young people posted online by them and their peers are being stolen by porn websites, an internet safety organization has warned.
A study by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) revealed that 88 percent of self-made sexual or suggestive images and videos posted by young people, often on social networks, are taken from their original location and uploaded to other sites.
During 47 hours, over a four-week period, a total of 12,224 images and videos uploaded by children and young people were analysed and logged by the IWF.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, majority of these images and videos were then picked by 'parasite' websites created for the sole purpose of displaying sexually explicit images and videos of young people.
Of the 12,224 images and videos monitored on 68 websites, 10,776 were later found on parasite websites.
Organisations warned children and young people of the dangers of 'sexting' - sending sexually explicit texts or emails - and allowing suggestive pictures or videos to be taken of them, the report said.
"This research gives an unsettling indication of the number of images and videos on the net featuring young people performing sexually explicit acts or posing," Susie Hargreaves, chief executive of the Internet Watch Foundation, set up in 1996 by the internet industry, said.
"It also highlights the problem of control of these images - once an image has been copied on to a parasite website, it will no longer suffice to simply remove the image from the online account," she added.
According to the report, UK Safer Internet Centre, a group that campaigns for responsible Internet use, will use the research to inform new campaigns aimed at children.