Dangers: One in eight children worldwide exposed to sex on the internet

Dangers: One in eight children worldwide exposed to sex on the internet
Dangers: One in eight children worldwide exposed to sex on the internet

One in eight children worldwide exposed to sex on the internet

Published today at 1:36 a.m.

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One in eight children around the world have found themselves confronted or unknowingly exposed to images of a sexual nature over the past year, according to a study published Monday.

This study from the Childlight Institute, which depends on the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, is presented as the first to give an estimate of the global scale of the problem.

Over the past year, one in eight children in the world (or 302 million young people) found themselves confronted, in a non-consensual manner, with photos or videos of a sexual nature. This includes taking or sharing images without the young person’s consent or exposing them to pornographic content.

A case reported every second

In Western Europe, nearly 20% of young people have been affected, according to Childlight, an organization working for child safety. Furthermore, 12.5% ​​of children worldwide have been confronted with unwanted sexual interactions on the internet.

The study mentions in particular sexual messages or cases of requests for sexual acts from adults and other young people. Also mentioned is blackmail with intimate photos and the use of AI to create deepfakes.

A case is reported every second in the world, according to the authors of the study. “This is a global pandemic that has remained hidden for too long,” according to Paul Stanfield, the president of Childlight quoted in a press release, who has worked for Interpol and the British Crime Agency, the NCA.


The phenomenon exists “in every country, is growing exponentially and requires a global response,” he adds. For Stephen Kavanagh, director at Interpol, current legislation “struggles to respond” to the situation.

At the end of April, the NCA alerted hundreds of thousands of education professionals following a sharp increase in cases of “sextortion” targeting adolescents, victims of blackmail after intimate photos were posted on the internet.

A significant proportion of cases concern adolescent boys aged 14 to 18, according to this agency. Blackmail can be carried out by organized crime groups based abroad, mainly in West African countries, but also in Southeast Asia, the NCA said.


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