Childline has launched a new tool for under-18s to report nude photos of themselves online
A great initiative.
In the UK, under-18s who want nude pictures or videos of themselves removed from the internet can now report the images through an online tool.
The service - from the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and Childline - aims to help children who have been groomed, or whose partners have posted photos of them online.
According to the BBC, this new tool is a 'world first', and works in the way that the IWF, who works to remove child abuse material from the internet, will examine the images. And if they are found to break the law, the IWF will work to have them removed.
As parents, we need to, of course, sit down and have a conversation with our tweens and teens about the dangers of posting or sending certain photos to someone online. But, realistically – we need to also be prepared for them to mess up and do things they regret – and instead of pointing fingers and saying 'I told you so,' be ready to help.
As a head-up, the IWF says there are a number of reasons a young person might send nude images or videos without knowing they will be posted online, including grooming and coercion. Some may have also sent images for fun, or to a boyfriend or girlfriend who has since shared them without their consent.
In recent years, the charity says it has noticed more and more of these types of images online that have been created by children themselves. In the first three months of this year, 38,000 self-generated images were reported - double the amount in comparison to the same time last year.
But now, for the first time, people under the age of 18 who are concerned that a nude photo of them is online - or could potentially end up there - can now flag up the content using the Report Remove tool on the NSPCC's Childline service's website.
If a picture or video has already appeared online, they can share the URL and the charity will examine the images. If the pictures break the law, the IWF will work to have them removed.
And if the content has not yet appeared online but a person is worried it might, the charity can create a digital fingerprint for the picture - known as a hash - which will be shared with tech companies and law enforcement around the world to help prevent it from being uploaded and shared.
Young people can report the images anonymously, as long as they verify their age, or they can leave their details and get support from Childline.
And the charity say they really aim to be fast when it comes to dealing with this.
"Anyone who makes a report should expect to receive feedback on the outcome in one working day."
Susie Hargreaves, head of the IWF, said the new tool "will give young people the power, and the confidence, to reclaim these images and make sure they do not fall into the wrong hands online".
"Once those images are out there, it can be an incredibly lonely place for victims, and it can seem hopeless," Hargreaves explains.
"It can also be frightening, not knowing who may have access to these images."