You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security.

11 March 2015
By Rebecca Avery

IWF Research Published (2015): Youth Produced Sexual Content

The Internet Watch Foundation have published the key findings of a quantitative study of youth-produced sexual content online. The study  has been carried out over a three month period between September and November 2014 and used a combination of proactively sourced content from search engines, historic IWF data and leads from public reports to locate ‘youth-produced sexual content’ depicting ‘young people’.

  • The study identified a total of 3,803 images and videos across 230 different websites were identified and of those, 667 (17.5 per cent) featured children who were 15 years old or younger and 286 were thought to be under 10.
    • 93 per cent of the images featured girls rather than boys.
  • This study found that all of this content produced by those aged 15 and younger (90% of all images in total) had been taken, or ‘harvested’,  from its original online location and uploaded to another website.
  • Nine out of 10 of the explicit videos and images were created using a webcam, usually on a home computer, which the study said challenged the traditional view of such content being produced on mobile phones.
    • “Traditional definitions of 'sexting’ and ‘self-generated sexual content’ have focussed on the use of mobile devices such as phones as being the primary method for creation and onward distribution of the content,” it said. “However, an analysis of the devices used to create the content depicting children aged 15 years or under showed that 573 (85.9 per cent) of the images and videos had been created using a webcam.”

The Study was carried out by Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) in partnership with Microsoft and was initially designed to expand upon the 2012 research, Self-Generated Sexually Explicit Images and Videos Featuring Young People Online. To read the full paper, click here. To read the press release launching the Study click here.

The UK Safer Internet Centre have published advice for professionals relating to the findings from the study here The IWF highlighted the following resources:

  • Youth Spark Hub – Microsoft have created a website providing essential information for helping families use the internet safely.
  • So You Got Naked Online Opens in New Window - a SWGfL resource with help and advice for young people who may find themselves in a situation where they or a friend have put a sexting image or video online and have lost control over who it's being shared with.
  • Picture This Opens in New Window – a school drama resource from the UK Safer Internet Centre created to address, understand and confront the complicated issue of sexting.
  • ‘Sexting’ in schools: advice and support around self-generated images Opens in New Window – a joint partnership resource which offers practical advice to education professionals that encounter problems with sexting in schools, and an oversight into sexting itself.
  • A Parent’s Guide to dealing with ‘sexting Opens in New Window’ – an adapted version of the above resource for parents.
Other resources relating to sexting and self generated indecent images