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Germany sacks military counter-intelligence chief overseeing investigation into soldiers’ suspected ties to neo-Nazi groups - rt

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metro
Girls as young as 11 being groomed into sending explicit selfies online

Girls as young as 11 being groomed into sending explicit selfies online

metro - 8 months ago
Girls as young as 11 are being blackmailed and coerced into sending explicit selfies (Picture: Getty)
Girls as young as 11 are being blackmailed and coerced into sending explicit selfies (Picture: Getty)

Girls as young as 11 are being groomed into taking explicit selfies on social media in what watchdogs have warned is a national crisis.

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) took action over 124,605 explicit images of children and found 30% were self-generated.

The vast majority (78%) featured children between 11 and 13, most of whom were girls.

Chief executive of the IWF, Susie Hargreaves, said the internet is rife with images and videos of girls who have been groomed, coerced and tricked into performing sexually over webcam.

She urged men who watch porn to anonymously report content they believe may feature an underage victim to stem the national crisis.

Sankt-Petersburg Russia, March 6, 2018: Apple iPhone X on office desk with icons of social media facebook, instagram, twitter, snapchat application on screen. Social network. Starting social media app. Photo taken at company office
Watchdogs say children are being coerced into sending the images on social media (Picture: Getty)

She said: There has never been a more poignant time to shine a light on the uncomfortable truth we are now faced with.

While we’re working to prevent images from being taken in the first place, efforts to halt the spread of the ones in circulation, by encouraging young men to anonymously report any they may unintentionally stumble upon, is an important and much-needed step to help tackle the issue.

Young men might be at risk of stumbling across this content as a result of having unprecedented access to sexual content online – but they can also be the heroes that help us save many more victims of child sexual abuse.

Her call was supported by one girl who was sexually assaulted at the age of 13 in her own home, a day after being groomed by a fake modelling scout online.

Police contacted her months later after discovering images of the assault on her attacker’s computer.

Russia - August 28, 2019: Families with children resting near the Friendship of peoples fountains on the VDNkH. Theme of beauty, city lifestyles and tourism.
Experts say online grooming is a national crisis as one third of explicit images are selfies (Picture: Getty)

The girl, who wished to be identified only as Rhiannon, said: In my situation, if the images that I’d sent to the perpetrator that evening had been reported and I was identified, I could have been safeguarded before the man came to my house, and that would have prevented me from being sexually assaulted.

It’s easy to think that an image is something that has already happened, but you don’t know the circumstances.

For some people it could be ongoing. A report could lead to them being taken out of that situation.

Under UK law, anyone can be prosecuted for taking, sharing or possessing explicit images of under-18s.

Tech companies have been accused of not doing enough to safeguard children with some bodies believing it is time for the government to step in with laws forcing social media giants to have a duty of care.

Andy Burrows, Head of Child Safety Online Policy at the NSPCC, said: Once an abuser has coerced a young person into taking these photos or videos, the child could lose control of who views or shares it and they could be blackmailed into sending more.

We cannot emphasise enough the need for Government to tackle this horrendous problem by introducing a comprehensive Duty of Care that forces tech companies to keep children safe on their sites.

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