1,000 per cent increase in sexual abuse imagery of 7-10s since lockdown

27 Feb 2023 UK SIC

Primary school children aged 7-10 years old are increasingly being groomed to perform sexually online by predators warns the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).

The IWF, the UK hotline to report and remove child sexual abuse imagery online, have warned that since the beginning of the pandemic, they have witnessed an increase of 1,058 per cent in the number of webpages depicting sexual abuse imagery of children aged 7-10. This content was recorded by predators via internet connected devices and shared online.

2022 was also a record year for the IWF, with the analysts finding more criminal material than ever before. In total, 375,230 reports of websites received by the Hotline of were suspected of containing child sexual abuse imagery – 4% more than in 2021. Of these, 255,580 were confirmed and actioned for containing images and videos of child victims of sexual abuse.

The lockdowns during the pandemic found more people, including children, spending longer online. The internet was a vital tool for children and families to learn, stay in touch with friends and family members and play, but also opened the door to predators, who got unprecedented access to children worldwide – warns the charity.

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