The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has documented a significant rise in so called “self-generated” child sexual abuse imagery being created and shared online.
There has been a 77% increase from 2019 to 2020 in the proportion of actioned webpages displaying self-generated imagery. This increase has coincided with a time when much of the world has been subject to periods of lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Self-generated child sexual abuse content is typically created using webcams or smartphones and then shared online on a variety of platforms which are increasing in number.
In March 2020, IICSA published their investigation report into the internet. The report followed IICSA’s investigation into the growing problem of online-facilitated child sexual abuse.
During public hearings in 2018 and 2019, the Inquiry heard distressing accounts from those directly affected by child sexual abuse facilitated online and the devastating and long term impact that this abuse has had on them. The Inquiry heard no evidence to suggest that the number of offenders who use the internet to facilitate abuse of children is falling. UK law enforcement record almost 10 grooming offences per day and arrest between 400 and 450 people per month for offences of online-facilitated child sexual abuse and exploitation.
As noted in our blogs earlier this week the IICSA investigation into the internet is well underway.
The internet plays such a huge role in all of our lives, not least for Generation Z – the post-millennial generation, born 1995 to 2010 – who most likely will not have known a time when it did not exist. Many worrying stories continually dominate the headlines where technology seems less of a boon (curiously, the name of an app which ranks higher in Google’s search engine than the word itself) in the lives of children and young people.