Safeguarding: The Internet Watch Foundation

This week, one of the safeguarding newsletters I receive shared an important website: The Internet Watch Foundation. 

Through a really hard-hitting two minute video on their homepage, they highlight that 1 in 4 teenagers receive unwanted sexual messages online.

Their website explains that ‘Young people are being contacted in their own homes on online platforms and apps and are asked for sexual pictures and videos while their parents and carers believe they are safe.’

They talk about a term that I hadn’t heard of before – self-generated child sexual abuse imagery. This is when offenders groom children into sexual activities, often in children’s own bedrooms and bathrooms. They then record this via webcams or live streaming services.

According to the website, in 2020, 68,000 confirmed cases of such imagery were reported with 80% of these cases where the victims were 11-13 year old girls.

They give advice on what parents and carers could do using the acronym TALK:

T – talk to your child about online sexual abuse. Start the conversation and listen to their concerns.

A – agree ground rules about the way you use technology as a family.

L – learn about the platforms and apps your child loves. Take an interest in their online life.

K – know how to use tools, apps and settings that can help to keep your child safe online.

You can download a useful document here.

Make sure your home doesn’t have an open door to child sexual abusers.