As it becomes clear that certain children are receiving sexual images each day, social media platforms must take immediate action to crack down on cyberflashing

  • Snapchat and Instagram have become increasingly attractive to girls.
  • Lack of accountability and identity-checking fuel the online sexual harassment
  • A report calls for companies to establish ‘clearer, more extensive’ privacy settings

The social media companies have been asked to crack down on cyberflashing. A study revealed that daily sexual images are sent out to children by their parents.

Snapchat and Instagram are becoming increasingly popular with girls, who see a lot of inappropriate images that is ‘dangerously normalized’.

According to researchers, online sexual harassment is fueled by a lack in accountability and identity verification measures.

UCL Institute of Education conducted the study and found that image sharing was ‘particularly widespread’ and therefore ‘normalised and accepted by many’. These factors contribute to the’shockingly low rate’ of online reporting sexual abuse.

Social media giants have been urged to clamp down on ¿cyberflashing¿, with a study revealing that children are being sent sexual pictures every day (stock image)

The social media companies have been asked to crack down on cyberflashing. A study revealed that kids are receiving sexual images every day from their parents (stock image).

According to the report, tech companies should create clearer privacy settings for their customers and implement strict identification processes to ensure children are safe from predators.

This shakeup might involve using passports to verify a user’s identity and putting verified ages onto social media profiles.

Snapchat users should also keep track of all images, videos, messages and other information to aid in reporting incidents and to assist with identifying perpetrators.

The researchers interviewed 144 children and teens aged between 12 and 18 years in focus groups and 336 more in a digital image-sharing survey. Three-quarters of the 122 girls interviewed had been exposed to inappropriate online images or videos.

A photo of male genitals was sent to three out of four focus group girls.

This kind of harassment is ‘often experienced regularly, sometimes daily’. The girls described how they grew to accept this unwelcome content as normal and stopped seeing it as an issue.

The survey found that Snapchat was most commonly used to perpetrate image-based sexual harassment. However, Snapchat reporting was considered ‘useless” by many young people due to the fact that images can disappear.

51 percent of respondents admitted that they had not done anything about the inappropriate sexual content or images posted online. Another third stated that they don’t believe reporting works.

Girls are increasingly targeted on the likes of Snapchat and Instagram, as a growing bombardment of unwanted images becomes ¿dangerously normalised¿ (stock image)

As a result of a rising number of unwelcome images becoming ‘dangerously commonised’ (stock photo), girls are being increasingly targeted by platforms like Snapchat and Instagram.

Professor Jessica Ringrose of UCL Institute of Education was the report’s author. She stated that “young people in Britain are faced with a crisis of sexual violence online.”

Instagram stated that it is a top priority to keep young users of our apps safe and has put in place measures to ensure their safety. Snapchat stated: “Any sexual harassment is unacceptable. We work together with the police, industry partners and Childnet to stop it from Snapchat.

The Children’s Charity Coalition for Internet Safety (CCIOS) has called for age verification to be implemented in the UK.

The charity informed the Information Commissioner’s Office about its intentions to challenge the Data Commissioner’s Office if they don’t take action.