*The following is excerpted from an online article posted by PRNewswire.
New research from Thorn, a technology non-profit dedicated to defending children from online sexual exploitation, found that twice as many children between the ages of 9 and 12 reported sending nudes or other Self-Generated Child Sexual Abuse Material (SG-CSAM) in 2020 than in 2019. The research, “Self-Generated Child Sexual Abuse Material: Youth Attitudes and Experiences in 2020,” is one of the few studies of its kind monitoring changes in minors’ behaviors and attitudes related to SG-CSAM.
Among the findings from the study:
• More kids reported sharing nudes, and LGBTQ+ youth were nearly 3 times as likely to share their own SG-CSAM versus their non LGBTQ+ peers.
• There is an increasing perception of normalcy around sharing nudes among pre-teen boys in particular, with 1 in 4 boys saying the behavior is “normal.”
• The use of secondary accounts (such as but not limited to “finstas”) made to keep content private, was up among 9-12-year-olds.
• Among respondents between the ages of 9 and 17 who reported sharing nudes, 50% reported sending nudes to someone they had never met in real life, and 41% believed they were sending the images to an adult.
“The pandemic has had a profound effect on the lives of children, who are now spending even more time online, and often with less supervision,” said Julie Cordua, CEO of Thorn. “Our tracking of kids’ changing attitudes and behaviors towards sharing sexually explicit material shows how greater access to technology comes with greater risks, and why parents and caregivers need to be prepared to equip young people with the tools and knowledge to be safe and healthy on the Internet. It has never been more urgent that we talk with our kids about online safety.”
Thorn’s full report “Self-Generated Child Sexual Abuse Material: Youth Attitudes and Experiences in 2020” can be viewed online here.