Police have warned young people in Northamptonshire not to upload explicit images of themselves to the internet after a study found they could be taken and published on other websites.
A recent study by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has found that 88 per cent of self-generated, sexually explicit online images and videos of young people are taken from their original location and uploaded onto ‘parasitic’ websites.
These parasitic websites are created with the sole purpose of making public sexually explicit material of young people which had been copied from where it had originally been uploaded.
The study also sought to establish a snapshot of how many self-generated, sexually explicit images and videos of young people there are online, and within 48 hours IWF internet content analysts encountered more than 12,000 such images and videos spread over 68 websites.
Susie Hargreaves, chief executive officer of the IWF, said: “Once an image has been copied onto a website, it will no longer suffice to simply remove the image from the online account.”
Northamptonshire child protection team officer, Carole Walton added: “If you don’t want to share your images with strangers then don’t put them online. Just because you have removed an image, it is still out there and may even come back to haunt you years later, possibly jeopardizing your career - not to mention embarrassment with family and friends.
“I’d like to emphasise a very important point; it is an offence to make, possess and distribute images of anyone under the age of 18 years in any kind of sexually erotic posing or activity. The fact is, we don’t want young people to make pictures of this kind in the first place.”