Middle class children are being tricked into filming themselves naked, child abuse watchdog warns as it reveals 105,000 images were taken offline last year
- More than 100,000 web pages featuring child sex abuse shut down last year
- Abuse watchdog said paedophiles now targeting middle-class kids aged 11 to 13
- They’re being duped into filming themselves on web cams and smartphones
More than 100,000 web pages featuring child sex abuse were shut down last year – a rise of a third in just twelve months.
The Internet Watch Foundation – Britain’s online child abuse watchdog – last night revealed that between them the pages hosted more than a million images and videos.
And it warned that predatory paedophiles are increasingly manipulating middle-class children – usually girls aged 11 to 13 – into posting highly sexualised selfies, with one in four of those it removed over the past six months ‘self-generated’ by victims.
More than 100,000 web pages featuring child sex abuse were shut down last year – a rise of a third in just twelve months
In the vast majority of cases they were physically alone but had been duped into filming themselves on smartphones or web cams on their laptops. Many show victims’ toys in the background, and in some videos family members can be heard calling them down to dinner, oblivious to the fact the child is being violated.
Susie Hargreaves, who leads the IWF charity, warned that parents are wrong to assume their children are safe in their rooms. ‘It’s children in nice bedrooms. It is a middle-class problem,’ she said. ‘Lots of middle-class children have laptops.
Not every poor kid has. Parents need to know what their children are doing in their bedrooms. They think, “Oh, it won’t happen to us” – that notion of “well, there is no point really having parental controls on and actually it’s too much hassle.” The internet is potentially a very scary, dangerous place if people don’t protect themselves online.’
The Mail’s ‘Block Online Porn’ campaign has called for broadband providers to switch on web filters by default, meaning parents have to choose to have restrictions lifted. Around 1,300 of the web pages removed by the IWF last year featured babies and children under two. Nearly half (44 per cent) of the content featured ‘category A’ and ‘category B’ sexual abuse – which includes rape and sexual torture.
The IWF said more than three-quarters of the self- generated images feature children aged between 11 and 13. The vast majority – 80 per cent – are girls.
Miss Hargreaves said she is ‘extremely worried’ about this age group. She added: ‘They’re very vulnerable. Lots of stuff’s going on with them and they are very open to coercion and being groomed.’
Predatory paedophiles are increasingly manipulating middle-class children – usually girls aged 11 to 13 – into posting highly sexualised selfies and videos (file image)
The IWF would not name sites where the abuse was taking place but warned it could happen on any platform which allowed video to be live-streamed – including web giants such as Facebook, Instagram and Live.me.
Less than 1 per cent of the child sex abuse material that IWF removed last year was hosted on servers in Britain. Nearly half was based in Amsterdam, some 13 per cent in the US and 12 per cent in Russia.
Responding to the figures, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said he wanted internet companies to do more to improve online safety.
‘The horrifying amount of online child sexual abuse material removed by the IWF shows the true scale of the vile threat we are facing,’ he said. ‘I want the web giants to do more to make their platforms safe.’