Raising awareness of the associated dangers of pirated content on children’s wellbeing

Liz Bales Chief Executive at the Industry Trust shares key concerns around the associated risks of pirated content on children’s digital wellbeing.

All of us are more connected than ever before, with devices like our phones, tablets and laptops giving us all access to a world of entertainment wherever we are and whenever we like. That is probably even truer for our kids who are often the most eager consumers of entertainment content.

But are we giving enough thought to where that content is coming from?

Generally speaking, most of us are finding entertainment from places we trust, that we know are both legal and safe, whether that’s in cinemas, on disc or from digital retailers like Apple or Sky, through subscription services like Netflix or Disney+ or online platforms like YouTube.

What are the real dangers of accessing pirated content online?

But let’s face it, we all know people who get their entertainment from places that aren’t legal, places that have the latest films or TV shows long before they’re available anywhere else. Putting legality to one side for a moment (although it illegal to access content this way), the real worry, as a parent, is that those places are also often not safe either, as recent research by the Industry Trust for IP Awareness shows:

  • More than 50% of current infringers have been a victim of hacking or viruses
  • Inappropriate content: More than one-third of people accessing content illegally have also been exposed to inappropriate material – anything from pornography through to violent or age-inappropriate content
  • Hacking: Nearly one in every four people who have accessed illegal content online have been a victim of hacking (that’s more than 1.3 million people)
  • Malware: Nearly one-thirdone third of people accessing illegal content online have been infected with a virus, malware or ransomware (a staggering 3.4 million people, and that figure has doubled in the last few months alone)
  • Fraud: 900,000 people accessing illegal content online have been a victim of fraud and 1.5 million have lost personal information. People who pay to access illegal content are even more likely to become a victim, with nearly one in every three of these people claiming to have experienced fraud

Source: Data compiled for The Industry Trust for IP Awareness by Walnut Unlimited

What impact can this have on children and young people?

With all of us spending more time at home at the moment, there is a very real concern that these figures will only go up in the coming months, and which could expose children and young people to a range of online risks. They could range from seeing inappropriate content that could impact their wellbeing, right through to money being taken out of their – or your – accounts by the unscrupulous criminals behind these illegal sites.

Related to all of this is the viability of the entertainment industry itself. Entertainment content is not all about global corporations, there’s a reality much closer to home that piracy puts future jobs in the industry at risk. Our kids, as well as consuming content are also, increasingly, making it and seeing a career doing so in their futures. Illegally accessing content, or failing to pay for it, can have a real impact on the future careers of the next generation of producers, directors or other creative talent.

So you can see that it really matters where you get your entertainment from. Most people do the right and safe thing and access content completely legally, safe in the knowledge that they’re keeping themselves, their personal details and their property safe.

Fortunately, if you’re ever confused about where to find safe and legal content, help is at hand. Sites like and make finding the entertainment you want really easy and you know you’re only ever going to be taken to legal sources.

With so much legal content at your fingertips, is any other option really worth the risk?


Visit The Dangers of Piracy advice hub for more support


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