New analysis in the IWF’s annual report* shows 11-13-year-old girls are increasingly at risk of grooming and coercion at the hands of online predators.
A new analysis released today (April 21) in the Internet Watch Foundation’s (IWF) annual report shows the growing risk of children, particularly girls aged 11-13, being targeted by criminal sex predators.
Predators groom, bully and coerce their victims into filming their own sexual abuse on internet-enabled devices, often in the child’s own bedrooms in their family homes. The images and videos of this abuse are then shared widely online.
IWF experts, who work internationally to find and remove child sexual abuse material from the internet, warn this abuse now, for the first time, makes up almost half of what they are finding online.
The IWF’s annual report reveals:
Now, a hard-hitting IWF campaign, backed by the UK Home Office and Microsoft, is aiming to empower girls, and warn parents, about the “dire” risks posed by online predators targeting children.
Susie Hargreaves OBE, Chief Executive of the IWF, said: “The scale of the problem is appalling, and our fear is without intervention it will get worse, and more and more girls will fall victim to this pernicious and manipulative form of abuse.
“This is a pivotal time. With more people spending more time online, predators are finding new ways to contact and manipulate children who are, in many cases, a captive audience at home with their devices. Lockdown has made this worse.
“Some of the campaign is shocking. But the threat and the abuse is shocking. We don’t want to frighten people, but we do want to build resilience to the threat of self-generated sexual abuse of children. We want to help teenage girls to recognise the actions that constitute self-generated sexual abuse as abuse.
“We want them to feel empowered to take control, and to understand how to deal with inappropriate requests and report them to a trusted source.”
With concerns raised about how social media and tech plays a role in teens sharing images, our Internet Matters expert panel provide their advice on teens and sexting, sending and sharing nudes.
View our latest report ‘Look at me – Teens, sexting and risks’ in collaboration with Youthworks, on sexting.
See more resources and articles to support children online: