New tool launches to allow under 18s to report nude images of themselves online

The Internet Watch Foundation said that the tool would ‘give young people the power’ to reclaim the images

Children who are worried that nude pictures and videos may end up online will be able to report the material to help prevent it from being uploaded in the future.

For the first time, young people will be able to flag images and videos with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) charity via a tool on the NSPCC’s Childline website before they have appeared online.

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The online tool originally was piloted in early 2020 (Photo: Shutterstock)

At a glance: 5 key points

- Under 18s will be able to flag material via the Report Remove tool.

- IWF analysts will review the content that’s been flagged and create a unique digital fingerprint known as a hash, which will then be shared with tech companies to prevent it from being uploaded and shared.

- The tool can also be used to report an image or video that has already appeared online by sharing the URL, and analysts will assess the material and work to remove it if it breaks the law.

- Young people must verify their age, but they do not need to share their real name with Childline or the IWF.

- The IWF calls the Report Remove tool a “world-first”.

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What’s been said

Susie Hargreaves, IWF Chief Executive, said: “Once those images are out there, it can be an incredibly lonely place for victims, and it can seem hopeless. It can also be frightening, not knowing who may have access to these images.

“This tool is a world first. It will give young people the power, and the confidence, to reclaim these images and make sure they do not fall into the wrong hands online.”

Cormac Nolan, Service Head of Childline Online, said: “The impact of having a nude image shared on the internet cannot be underestimated and for many young people, it can leave them feeling extremely worried and unsure on what to do or who to turn to for support.

“That’s why Childline and the IWF have developed Report Remove to provide young people a simple, safe tool that they can use to try and help them regain control over what is happening and get this content erased.”

Background

The IWF says that it has seen reports of self-generated images more than double in the first three months of 2021, compared with the same period last year increasing from 17,500 to 38,000.

The Report Remove tool was first piloted in February of 2020, it can now be found on the Childline website.

Under 18s can visit the Childline website to use the Report Remove tool if a nude image or video of them has been shared online.

They will need to select their age, and then confirm their age. They can do this by using their passport, CitizenCard or government ID. Alternatively, they can download the Yoti app and follow the instructions there to confirm their age.

Once their age has been confirmed, they will need to create a Childline account.

When they’ve completed those steps, they will be able to report the video or image to the IWF.

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