Only 4% of online content is public and can be searched. This is considered to be the surface web. The other 90% of online content is found on the deep web while the remaining 6% is on the dark web. To help you understand what these are and the risks for children, we’ve pulled together a quick summary of what you need to know.
It is a part of the World Wide Web which is hidden from public view. The contents cannot be accessed by usual search engines. It mainly consists of databases such as web mail and online banking that are hidden behind security protocols. These pages can be accessed directly but require a password to enter. The deep web is different from the dark web.
The dark web is a part of the World Wide Web that is only accessible through special software. The most commonly used software is called TOR. It allows users to communicate anonymously on networks without giving out identifying information like personal locations.
TOR, or The Onion Router, is a free and open-sourced software that was originally created by US military researchers to allow an exchange of information completely anonymously. They later released this into the public domain, creating white noise and hiding messages for security purposes. The software is used to conceal users’ identities.
To hide their identity
For criminal purposes
Unless you carry out unlawful acts, it is not illegal to use the dark web or TOR.
Lack of regulated content and users
CEOP – the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command — which is part of the National Crime Agency, uses the skills of its various experts, including forensic professionals and covert internet investigators, to track illegal activity on the dark web.
CEOP gets over 1,300 reports a month, most of which come from industry groups such as the main internet service providers.
An annual review (2011-2012) showed that over 400 children had been safeguarded as a result of their activity. This also led to 192 suspects being arrested.
Remain calm and gather context
Have an open and honest conversation just as you would for the surface web
Recognise the warning signs
Learn more about the Dark Web and how you can protect your child from the following sources.