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IWF report. Sexual violence on the Internet. Even 3-year-old children are victims

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Even 3-year-old children are victims of sexual violence – warns The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), an organization fighting against the exploitation of minors online. Last year alone, it detected over 6,000 websites containing sexual materials depicting children between 3 and 6 years old.

If you are experiencing emotional problems and would like advice or support, here you will find a list of organizations offering professional help. In a situation of immediate threat to life, call 997 or 112.

In 2023, The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), a British non-profit organization whose activities focus on combating potentially illegal content on the Internet, identified over 275,000 websites containing sexual materials involving minors. Compared to the previous year, this number increased by 8 percent. On some sites, only one photo or recording of this type was found, but others shared “dozens, hundreds or even thousands” of them, says the IWF in its latest annual report.

Among the websites analyzed, the most numerous were those presenting materials involving children aged 11 to 13. They accounted for 54 percent. all examined sites. For another 41 percent consisted of pages with images of minors between 7 and 10 years old. The third largest group were websites with videos or photos of children between 3 and 6 years of age.

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SEE ALSO: Almost 70 percent of Polish 18-year-olds experienced sexual harm on the Internet as children

Even 3-year-old children fall victim to sexual exploitation online

IWF warns that of all websites containing materials involving children aged 3-6, over 70 percent you could find images from category A – these are photos and videos showing the most serious abuses. Compared to the previous year, this percentage increased by exactly 21 percentage points.

Some of the materials published there were the so-called “self-generated” images or videos in which children are persuaded, deceived or coerced to participate in them by adult Internet users who are not physically present in the minors' environment. As the organization's analysts quoted by the BBC point out, many of these materials were recorded in “children's bedrooms or bathrooms in their homes”, where they were “alone or with another peer”. Many times the children were completely unaware that they were being recorded.

SEE ALSO: Children on the Internet. A safe child is one who is aware that he or she does not know everything yet

Main photo source: TVN24

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