Article by Dawn Hawkins | Director of National Center on Sexual Exploitation
March 13, 2015
A new research study from The Internet Watch Foundation and Microsoft was released this week showing that there is a rise in youth-produced child pornography.
The study established that 85.9 percent of content depicting children aged 15 or younger was created using a webcam and 93 percent featured girls. While much of the content appeared to be knowingly created for websites, the study indicates that 100 percent of the content was shared to third party websites, which cannot be traced. The researchers noted a specific concern that the young people featured, “took no steps to conceal their identity or location, even in many cases using their real names.” The study also found that 667 of the images and videos evaluated featured children 15 years and younger, and of this group, 286 were 10 years or younger. The researchers said their report confirms an alarming trend of young children producing and distributing explicit content online.
Children producing and distributing child pornography is a profoundly disturbing trend. We are in the midst of a public health crisis on pornography. Every public official from the president on down, public health advocates, social leaders, as well as every parent must work to solve this crisis. We know that the long-term consequences to our children involved with pornography are monumental and can include problematic, even criminal sexual behaviors, and a host of anti-social activities.
The sexualized culture created by adults has primed children to become exploited by pornography. The flood of unchecked TV indecency, movies such as “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and sexually exploitative magazines such as Cosmopolitan, groom children for the pornified culture that awaits and preys on them.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:
Talk to your kids! Even if you think your child or the children in your life are “responsible” and “know-better,” make sure that you have regular discussions with them about healthy sexuality and about the real consequences of these actions. Create a place where they feel comfortable talking to you about these issues and come to you for information, rather than to Google or to their friends.
We have a list of resources for parents right here. Two that I recommend right now are:
- The newly released books from Educated & Empower Kids called 30 Days of Sex Talks for ages 3-7, 8-11, and 12+
- The Book Good Pictures, Bad Pictures – a read-along book for you and your kids
To read our statement about this research study and the research study itself, please click here.
Most grateful to be involved in this fight!
Executive Director | National Center on Sexual Exploitation Director | Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation