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How private pictures end up on porn sites



Recently published research carried out by the UK-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has highlighted the dangers of young people posting sexually explicit images of themselves online. In an analysis of over 12,000 images and videos that were originally uploaded to social networks, webcam sites or other legitimate online destinations, 88 percent were found to have subsequently appeared on ‘parasite web sites’, meaning they were taken from their original location and made public elsewhere.

Many of these parasite web sites are created for the sole purpose of offering sexually explicit images and videos of young people. Previous IWF investigations uncovered large quantities of self-generated sexual content which had been copied from its original location but this is the first time they have been able to quantify the extent of the problem.

The parasite web sites get their material from anywhere they can find it, including lost or stolen cell phones, and hacked Photobucket, Flickr and Tumblr accounts. Other sites publish hijacked Facebook photos, or even ask for submissions of sexually explicit images from ex-lovers or angry boyfriends.

“This research gives an unsettling indication of the number of images and videos on the internet featuring young people performing sexually explicit acts or posing,” said Susie Hargreaves, CEO of the IWF. “It also highlights the problem of control of these images. We need young people to realise that once an image or a video has gone online, they may never be able to remove it entirely.”

Along with partner organizations, the IWF is using the research to develop resources that will better educate young people to the dangers of sexting. “In all of our work we see that conversations and education with young people are vital in helping them to stay safe online,” said Will Gardner, Director of UK Safer Internet Centre at Childnet. The organizations hope to support teachers in helping young people think about and understand the consequences of creating and sending indecent images.

The press release announcing the results of the study also included some heart-breaking quotes from young people who approached the IWF for help in removing sexually explicit images:

“One explicit image I took when I was young but I cannot be specific to if I was 15 or 16 because it was long ago, and I never posted it to the internet…It is coming up on the first page of [search engine] also if my name is searched and on [search engine] images for my name which could jeopardize any future career I have or if any family/friends come across it.”

“I came to regret posting photographs of myself naively on the internet and tried to forget about it, but strangers recognized me from the photographs and made lewd remarks at school. I endured so much bullying because of this photograph and the others...I was eventually admitted for severe depression and was treated for a suicide attempt.”

“...the photos were on a phone that was stolen around 2 years ago...the photos were taken when i was under 17 years old.”

“I'm an individual who was coerced into posing for this site at the age of 16, and have regretted this ever since…My parents would be horrified...I have suffered badly from depression, and every time I begin to feel good and confident about myself …I just remember these pictures and what I did.”

“Please remove this from the internet as soon as possible as one family member has already come across it… I feel like ending my life as I am so ashamed and embaressed [sic] and this has been put up without my concent.” [sic]



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