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IWF: Helping young men to navigate the internet safely

DID you know that 22% of men aged 18-24 do not agree that children in child sexual abuse images are harmed by the experience? Or that 11% do not think it is illegal to download, view or share indecent images of a child when they are under 16?

These research findings demonstrate the need for an initiative that aims to educate young men on the law relating to sexual images and videos of under-18s online. Jointly led by the IWF (Internet Watch Foundation), The Marie Collins Foundation (MCF) and the government, the campaign encourages young men to know the law when viewing sexual images online and take a ‘no ifs no buts’ approach if they see something concerning, by reporting it to the IWF.

Why does this matter? The victim’s perspective

In 2017, our team of expert Analysts processed 132,636 reports. One report could contain one or thousands of images and videos, and half of the reports came from the public. The children depicted in these horrific pictures and videos are real. Reporting content can lead to the rescue of victims from horrendous situations and prevent victims of child sexual abuse from ongoing harm, caused by knowing images of their abuse are being watched by potentially thousands of people again and again.

The campaign consists of a range of films which aim to help young men navigate the internet safely and reinforce the message that viewing, sharing and distributing sexual images of anyone under the age of 18 is against the law, even if you didn’t know how old the person in the image or video is.

The social media and entertainment publisher LADBible has also created materials that show why knowing the law and reporting is so crucial. The film Stephanie’s Story shows what a victim has to go through knowing that images of their abuse can be accessed online: “Just knowing that someone could be looking at a video of me online at any time makes me feel sick and I feel used all over again. I feel angry towards the guys looking, to me they’re abusers just like Chris and may as well have been in the room at the time.”

How one report can save a child from a life of abuse

As the UK Hotline working to remove child sexual abuse images and videos online, we also want to help young men navigate the internet more responsibly. Stumbling across indecent images of children online is easier than you think. Watch this video to test your own assumptions. How easy do you think it is to tell the age of a person you’ve only seen on an image or video?

Remember, if you encounter sexual images of children online, you can anonymously report them to the IWF. Reporting only takes a few minutes. One report is all it can take to save a child from a life of abuse. In the words of one of our Analysts: “All it needs is one report. The young lad that reported it to us probably doesn’t even realise what he’s done and how he’s helped that child. I don’t think he has any idea the good he’s done.” This short film created in partnership with LADbible tells the story of how one single report helped save a girl from further abuse. 

Want to know more?

A supporter pack is available for download here, which includes a range of content, links to campaign videos and suggestions of ways that your organisation can get involved with this initiative.

Know the law. NO IFS, NO BUTS. Do the right thing and help us eliminate indecent images of children online. Report at iwf.org.uk.