Child Sexual Abuse Online Cases Nearly Double Globally, Urgent Action Needed
The number of reported cases of child sexual abuse material online has almost doubled since 2019, according to a new report released by the international campaign group WeProtect Global Alliance. The figures reveal an alarming 87% increase in reported cases, reaching over 32 million globally.
This surge in cases demands a coordinated international response to protect children online. WeProtect Global Alliance warns that self-generated sexual images of seven to ten-year-olds have quadrupled between 2020 and 2022, with the disturbing use of generative AI to create child sexual abuse material. The report also highlights the dangers posed by social gaming environments where interactions between adults and children can quickly escalate into grooming situations.
Iain Drennan, the executive director of WeProtect Global Alliance, states, Our latest report showcases the magnitude of the threat children face online. It is crucial that we address online-facilitated child sexual exploitation and abuse worldwide, and take action immediately.
The NSPCC, a leading child protection charity, emphasizes the significance of the impending Online Safety Bill in the UK, which aims to introduce new internet safety standards, particularly for children. NSPCC Chief Executive Sir Peter Wanless notes the normalization of child sexual abuse online reported by children and emphasizes the need for globally aligned regulation and commitment from technology companies and governments to prioritize children’s online safety.
The Online Safety Act in the UK demonstrates what can be accomplished when there is a political will to safeguard children. However, online abuse transcends borders, making internationally aligned regulation essential. This report highlights the urgent need to allocate political, financial, and technological resources to ensure children’s safety online.
To combat this global threat, governments, online service providers, charities, and companies must collaborate and intensify their efforts. It is imperative that they work together to drive change and protect the most vulnerable members of society, our children.
In conclusion, the rising number of child sexual abuse cases online demands immediate and decisive action. With new technological advancements exacerbating existing risks, it is crucial that all stakeholders prioritize the safety of our children in the online realm. The upcoming Online Safety Bill in the UK sets a positive example, but global cooperation and regulation are necessary to effectively combat this grave issue. Protecting children online must be non-negotiable, and we must work tirelessly to prevent further harm.