(ReliableNews.org) – With the coronavirus pandemic keeping families inside their homes more than usual, it seems children are spending more time on the internet than they have in the past. A recent report from the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) showed the increased amount of time means online predators have more access to kids than ever before.
In fact, its assessment confirmed there were 99,000 more websites with images or videos of children suffering through sexual abuse in 2021, compared to 2020. The UK-based charity reported the age group with the fastest growth of such material was 7- to 10-year-olds.
Internet groomers are apparently taking full advantage of the children’s increased dependence worldwide on the digital space. Online pedophilic manipulators target the world’s vulnerable population convincing them to record or self-generate material describing or showing perpetrators sexually abusing them, and then to post it online.
The material then makes its way from criminal to criminal all over the globe. The IWF report showed 182,000 pieces of self-generated material, and 27,000 of those were in the 7 to 10 age group, with 148,000 images of children between 11 and 13 years old.
Once the organization tracks down the videos and photos, they report the incidents to the proper authorities in the countries that host the servers. There’s no definite word about the consequences of the criminal activity from the countries of origin. IWF chief Susie Hargreaves said the grooming and abuses are happening on an “industrial scale.”
Shockingly, recent data revealed child sexual abuse material found online is about 15 times greater than just 10 years ago.
Preventing the Tragedy
On January 13, United Kingdom’s House of Commons discussed drafting an online safety bill, putting the bulk of the responsibility on tech firms to protect the children. Andy Burrows, who directs the Child Safety Online policy at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), stated the bill must be strong enough to prevent predators from grooming children online entirely.
In addition to the proposed legislation, the UK government created the Stop Abuse Together website and material. The campaign gives parents and other caregivers the tools they need to spot the signs of abuse in children. The effort also offers tips about how to talk to kids about their abuse and where to go for more support or advice.
Safeguarding Minister Rachel Maclean stated child safety and stopping child abusers online are at the top of the UK government’s priority list.
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