ECPAT Sweden publishes report on harmful contact

ECPAT Sweden's hotline has noticed that self-generated material involves increasingly younger children, some as young as seven years old.

2020-07-13 ECPAT Sweden, the Swedish hotline awareness, hotlines

In a new report from ECPAT Sweden, launched in May 2020, children describe how they are contacted by adults and that threats and requests for nudes are part of the daily life online.

In the report "It was a bit scary in the beginning, but now it's part of everyday life" – ECPAT has talked to children about social media, games and how they deal with situations they face online. In these conversations, it becomes clear that threats and requests for nudes usually begin once the child debuts on social media or on games with chat functions.

However, children experience a lack of interest and knowledge from parents and adults regarding their online activities. One consequence of this is that children are not always informed in a proper way before using social media or games with chat functions. Another consequence is that children do not always, or even rarely, tell a parent if something bad happens – since they are afraid that the parent will react with anger or forbid the child to use the phone or play a certain game.

The report also deals with the question of responsibility which, according to ECPAT Sweden, includes the whole society – not only parents. Parents need to cultivate an interest in their children's online activities and talk about both the online fun but also the risks. The child needs to know that the parent (or another important adult) will always have their back – and that the fun parts of being online will not go away. Educating and empowering parents to help them handle these situations is an important preventive measure to stop what otherwise may turn into something far more serious.

Read the full report (in Swedish) on the website of ECPAT Sweden. This article was initially published on the INHOPE website and is reproduced here with permission.

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