The rise of ‘self-generated’ child abuse

‘Self-generated’ child abuse is 1000% worse since lockdown.

Last month, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) published new data showing the full effects of lockdown on sexual abuse online. Since 2019, the IWF said they’ve seen a 1058% increase in the number of webpages showing images and videos of children being encouraged to perform sexual acts. This is known as ‘self-generated’ child abuse. In 2022, there were 63,050 reports of children being groomed, coerced or tricked into performing these acts on camera. However, this is a huge rise from the 5443 reports in 2019.

'Self-generated' child abuse

The IWF help to make the internet a safer place by removing child sexual abuse images and videos online. They use cutting edge technology to find, remove and prevent sexual abuse imagery online all over the world.

Lockdowns and the internet.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, children turned to the internet to learn, socialise and play. It became a huge part of our lives helping us adjust to lockdowns. Social media channels especially surged in popularity during this time. But as much as the internet was a lifeline to many of us, it’s also caused an increase in the number of predators targeting children online.

Often this sexual abuse is taking place in the victim’s home. Children are being contacted and asked for sexual photos and videos through social media and communication apps, while their parents and carers believe they’re safe. However, they may not take these photos or videos themselves. Lots of the child abuse imagery found has been recorded from webcams or livestreaming without consent. Many of the images and videos take place in a child’s bathroom or bedroom, surrounded by their cuddly toys.

All parents and carers need to be aware of the risks of child sexual abuse online. Take a look at the TALK resource from IWF and the UK Safer Internet Centre to keep your children safe online.

Online safety in schools to stop ‘self-generated’ child abuse.

Although most child abuse takes place at home, educators play a key role in digital safeguarding is supporting children to learn how to stay safe online. Teaching online safety throughout the school curriculum is vital. And by giving students the confidence to speak up if they’re experiencing online abuse, we can tackle this growing problem. There’s lots of online resources you can use in your school. Here’s some we really recommend for teachers and school staff:

Reporting online child sexual abuse images and videos is easy – you can report it online anonymously through IWF. Don’t keep it to yourself!

Our mission to keep children safe.

We’re passionate about digital safeguarding children, and our school broadband has been designed with online safety in mind. We can also provide you with proactive monitoring making sure your students are safe when they’re surfing the web. The system monitors your students’ behaviour and categorises their risk level. Once a student becomes a high risk of harm, the system creates an alert in real time. You can then act on any alerts as soon as they come through, protecting the student from harm.

Netsweeper OnGuard – Netsweeper’s proactive monitoring systems monitor user data, on-screen content and reports in real time (so you act quickly). It monitors both online and offline, protecting students from harm even when they’re messaging or writing documents.

Senso Assisted Proactive Monitoring – Senso’s assisted monitoring systems monitors student’s activity on their devices. It works alongside Senso’s safeguarding software where the fully trained safety experts will identify and notify you of any issues in real time.

If you’re looking for a new school broadband provider, then we can help! Just get in touch with us – we’ll talk to you about our broadband and safeguarding solutions that could work for your school.

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