Nearly nine of out ten sexually explicit images and videos that young people put online are taken from their original location and put on other websites, out of the control of the person who originally posted it.
The results of a study by British-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) are the latest proof that what you put on the Internet can end up in a place where you have no control over it.
IWF said its analysts found more than 12,000 such images and videos on 68 websites in 47 hours. 88 percent of the content appeared on so-called “parasite websites,” meaning they were taken from the place they were originally uploaded and made public on other websites.
“We need young people to realise that once an image or a video has gone online, they may never be able to remove it entirely,” said Susie Hargreaves, CEO of IWF. “…once an image has been copied onto a parasite website, it will no longer suffice to simply remove the image from the online account.
IWF said the following are quotes from young people who are hoping to get the explicit images and videos removed from the Internet.
“One explicit image I took when I was young but I cannot be specific to if I was 15 or 16 because it was long ago, and I never posted it to the internet…It is coming up on the first page of [search engine] also if my name is searched and on [search engine] images for my name which could jeopardize any future career I have or if any family/friends come across it.”
“I came to regret posting photographs of myself naively on the internet and tried to forget about it, but strangers recognized me from the photographs and made lewd remarks at school. I endured so much bullying because of this photograph and the others...I was eventually admitted for severe depression and was treated for a suicide attempt.”
“...the photos were on a phone that was stolen around 2 years ago...the photos were taken when i [sic] was under 17 years old.”
“I'm an individual who was coerced into posing for this site at the age of 16, and have regretted this ever since…My parents would be horrified...I have suffered badly from depression, and every time I begin to feel good and confident about myself …I just remember these pictures and what I did.”
“Please remove this from the internet as soon as possible as one family member has already come across it… I feel like ending my life as I am so ashamed and embaressed [sic] and this has been put up without my concent.” [sic]
IWF is based in the UK and is focused on eliminating the online sexual exploitation of children around the world.