Self-generated videos of child sex abuse surfacing online: Report
The IWF, a group that takes down such content when reported, said it acted against 37,112 cases of self-generated images and videos of child sex abuse online between January and November last year.Updated: Jan 19, 2020, 15:34 IST
An increasing number of pre-teens are being coerced by adults to self-generate child sexual abuse content, with girls aged between 11 and 13 targeted in most cases, a disturbing trend recorded by the UK-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) shows.
The IWF, a group that takes down such content when reported, said it acted against 37,112 cases of self-generated images and videos of child sex abuse online between January and November last year. Of these, 29,100 (78.4%) cases involved children aged between 11 and 13. Most of these illegal visuals, the group said, were produced in domestic settings and “can include grooming and coercion by adults”.
The IWF received complaints related to 2,60,400 web pages in 2019. Among these, 1,32,700 (50.9%) showed children being sexually abused. Women featured in about 80% of the pages and the IWF took down at least 1,32,000 such web pages.
IWF CEO Susie Hargreaves said the data demonstrated the alarming rate at which self-generated imagery was increasing. “These are images and videos where girls have been groomed, coerced and tricked into performing sexually over webcam… There has never been a more poignant time to shine a light on the uncomfortable truth we are now faced with,” she said.
The IWF, she said, has now partnered with charity organisations to enlist the help of young men who could be stumbling upon such content online, as a recent report suggested that 77% of men aged between 18 and 25 in Britain were watching porn online.
For India, where the penetration of internet stands at about 560 million users, the findings could indicate a big threat.
Vidya Reddy of TULIR: Centre for the Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse (CPHCSA) said the solution was not policing, but a psycho-social approach. “A legal or punitive framework is not the solution, as children and their interpersonal relationships are now vastly different. What we need is for children and young people to be considered themselves digital citizens and have an idea of their rights and responsibilities online, and for parents and adults to be taught how to adapt to their needs,” she said.
Parenting in the digital age, and including these topics in the school curriculum is important, she said. “Technology allows children today to be independent; and they are intuitive about it, unlike us, who are immigrants to it,” she added.