Criminology experts say “sexting” by children is one of their biggest worries when it comes to fighting an increase in online child exploitation material.
Protecting children from online abusers
Naked selfies shared by teenagers are being weaponised by online predators and contributing to an increase in child exploitation material linked to self-produced content.
As more children acquire smartphones earlier, predators have increased opportunities to access those “sexts” indirectly online, or manipulate and extort children into producing sexualised content, experts warn.
Australian Federal Police child exploitation investigator Constable Tom Clayworth has linked a rise in self-produced content to a third consecutive year of record-breaking reports to the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation.
When children come up against these adults, who are often technologically sophisticated and manipulative, they are vulnerable and exposed, Clayworth said.