Help stop vile trade in indecent images

Recently the Home Secretary laid down a much-needed challenge to big tech companies at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) headquarters in London.

Friday, 21st September 2018, 11:17 am
Updated Saturday, 22nd September 2018, 6:19 am

Sajid Javid said he was demanding change to protect children from online groomers as well as urging the industry to tackle the vile trade in indecent images.

NSPCC research shows that the equivalent of one child in every primary school classroom surveyed has been sent a naked or semi-naked image from an adult, and one in 50 had sent a nude or semi-nude image to an adult. That is appalling, and something no child should have to experience.

Those images and messages are sent through social networks and texting apps, which recklessly expose children to content and behaviours completely inappropriate for their age, and now social networks have become a gateway to child abuse.

Social media sites often know where we shop, what we buy and even where we go on holiday to target us with adverts — and if they can use that technology for profit, then why not to flag the risks to our children and proactively detect these groomers?

The Government must now force social networks to tackle the problem blighting their sites, and that means changing the law.

The NSPCC’s Wild West Web campaign is calling on Mr Javid and Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright to create an independent regulator, with the power to investigate and to fine social networks which fall short.

Social networks must also be forced to publish annual transparency reports about the scale of abuse on their platforms.

In the coming months Government will publish its White Paper setting out proposals for what social network regulation could look like. The NSPCC will be doing all it can to make sure these laws are fit for purpose, and we’re asking everyone to sign our Wild West Web petition to tell Mr Wright and Mr Javid how important this issue is.

Ally Sultana