As stated by Europol, the growing number of young people owning digital devices has led to an increase in the production and dissemination of self-generated inde-cent materials. New data from the UK hotline, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), shows that self-generated images now make up almost a third of webpages that the IWF takes action against. 75 per cent of these materials feature children aged 11-13.
We may be tempted to think that, just because it is on our phone, or between friends, or a couple, that we are safe – but if this sensitive content exists, so does the real risk of it being put online.
Whether that is by you or by an acquaintance does not matter - what does is how you act next. This is a scary situation and you might feel powerless, but there are ways you can re-gain control. The quicker you act, the better, as the longer the content is up, the more it can be shared.
In addition to the damage caused by the initial sharing of the content, there is the high poten-tial of re-victimisation as the material is found, copied, and shared until it becomes ever more difficult to erase. Some of our hotlines are seeing a sharp increase in such materials.
A more sinister risk yet is the possibility that the content initially shared with an innocent intent might be passed to "collectors" who could proceed to exploit the victim, in particular by means of extortion. This extortion can lead to the creation and spread of more illegal material, when the victim is forced to make more indecent material to stop the initial material from be-ing shared.
Take control and report this content. If you are under the age of consent in your country, this is child sexual abuse material (CSAM) – this is illegal and must be removed – all you need to do is report the URL using the reporting portal. It takes 5 minutes to make a report and stop someone sharing your content online.
For more information, professional guidance and psychological support, get in touch with the helplines of the Insafe network.