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The National Center on Sexual Exploitation is Advancing Policy Solutions to Solve Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in the Digital Age

According to recent data, by age eight 19% of 8-year-olds have their own smartphone; by 12 more than two-thirds (69%) do.[i] Sixty-three percent of 16- to 18-year-olds report that they use social media every day.[ii]

Caring parents would never take their children to an XXX store, yet many social media platforms and apps expose children to shockingly explicit sexual content which is tantamount to child abuse. And no parent would leave their child alone in a mall where strangers regularly approach children and attempt to groom them for sexual abuse or sex trafficking, yet this is the online environment adolescents enter nearly every day.

This kind of sexually exploitive content is the “wallpaper” of children’s lives, potentially damaging their intellectual development, warping their sexual templates, normalizing them to sexual objectification, and even making them vulnerable to prostitution, sex trafficking, and child sexual abuse.

This demonstrates a key point. In the digital age, child safety and wellbeing are often an afterthought behind the goals of technological advancement and profits. Corporate and governmental policies regarding social media platforms, apps and Internet-connected devices like phones and tables are systematically slow to recognize their impact on predatory access and grooming of children for sexual abuse, childhood pornography exposure, sex trafficking and traffic in child sexual abuse images and videos. To address these pressing concerns, NCOSE has developed an aggressive response to online threats to child safety.

[i] Common Sense Media, “The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teen” (2019), accessed from commonsensemedia.org/sites/default/files/uploads/research/2019-census-8-to-18-key-findings-updated.pdf (November 21, 2019).
[ii] Ibid.

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Updates

VICTORY! TikTok Updated Its Safety Features. Here’s How They Work.

Just a few weeks after our public announcement about TikTok being named to the 2020 Dirty Dozen List, the social media company announced that they would soon begin rolling out improvements to TikTok’s safety features—including some updates we had been advocating for them to make! Although there are still several safety improvements they need to…

How the new safety features for TikTok actually work

Young boy was groomed for sex trafficking via an online video game

You’ve heard the tragic stories of men, women, and children who have been abused and harmed by the current culture of rampant sexual exploitation. But did you know that in uncertain and confusing times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic gripping our nation and the larger global community, the threat of exploitation looms even larger? We…

Young teen boy with his face blurred

EARN IT Act Can Both Protect Kids and Respect User Privacy, Encryption

The EARN IT Act is designed to foster a safer online experience for children without threatening user privacy or encryption. Children today are at increasing risk of online sexual exploitation. Child sexual abuse material (often referred to as “child pornography”) has exploded over the last two decades, and predators are increasingly flocking to online platforms—often…

Laptop with an icon representing online child safety and a second icon representing user privacy and encryption underscores how the EARN IT Act can protect both

How to Secure Zoom Calls and Protect from Exploitative “Zoombombing”

As more groups and individuals turn to Zoom for video conferencing during the COVID-19 pandemic, a problematic trend called “Zoombombing” is on the rise. Unfortunately for the many thousands (likely millions) of people who are using Zoom video conferencing for the first time for work, school, and socializing, Zoom isn’t as secure as it should…

Young woman on a Zoom video call with a censored "Zoombombing"

You Can Make a Difference During Child Abuse Prevention Month

Have you heard the devastating fact that 1 in 10 children will experience child sexual abuse by the time they reach 18 years of age? In recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation holds hope that parents and legislators alike will come together to protect children online. We have the…

Little boy with glasses looks at camera

How We’re Fighting Sexual Exploitation During COVID-19

Sexual exploitation is a tragedy whenever and wherever it occurs. One of the pernicious realities of sexual exploitation is that it does not stop, not even during a global health crisis like the novel coronavirus pandemic of 2020. Not only do sexually exploitative industries, companies, and individuals not stop during crisis, they often try to…

Letter sign that says "Not today #COVID19"

Teen Vogue Encouraging Minors to Sexually Exploit Themselves on Snapchat

In mid-March 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Teen Vogue (which has a troubling history with teenagers and sexual exploitation) posted a Snapchat Discover story about sexting under the guise of helping teenagers sustain their relationships from a distance. In case Teen Vogue has forgotten what a “teen” is: Teen (noun): relating to teenagers…

Screenshots of a Teen Vogue story on Snapchat, which was promoted in Snapchat Discover, that encourages and teaches teenagers to sext.

Pornhub Offering “Premium Content” to People in Quarantine is Exploitative, Not Philanthropic

Pornhub, one of the most-visited websites for online pornography in the world, offered free access to its paid premium content to those quarantined in Italy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not long after that, it extended the same offer to people in France and Spain. Since then, rather than continuing to roll out its troubling…

Pornhub Offering "Premium Content" to People in Quarantine is Exploitative, Not Philanthropic

Kids online more thanks to COVID-19? Here are five Internet filtering services for families.

Setting up parental controls, limiting screen time, and monitoring your child’s Internet use are all great ways to make sure your child is safe online. But it is also important to have the extra layer of security that Internet filtering services, which automatically block and filter unwanted sites and ads, can provide. To help you…

Adolescent using a laptop as a featured image for a blog about the five best Internet filtering services for families

5 Things You Can Do to Ensure Your Children are Safe Online During Quarantine

COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2. Call it what you want, but the novel coronavirus is all anyone is talking about anymore. The COVID-19 health pandemic has closed schools, cancelled most activities, and isolated a large swath of the population at home all at once. In the midst of the social distancing, self-isolation, quarantines, and lockdowns, we’re all feeling…

Children using a tablet together

EARN IT Act Will Help Protect Children from Online Sexual Exploitation

Why is the EARN IT Act important? Online child sexual exploitation is devastatingly real. The proliferation of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online is growing at exponential rates. The technology companies driving the rapid ascent of digital platforms have built and fed into a global tragedy of sexual abuse and exploitation that humanity is only…

To protect children from online sexual exploitation, we have to hold Big Tech accountable. Tell Congress to take action! (In support of the EARN IT Act )

The Global #Traffickinghub Campaign Against Pornhub, Explained

Pornhub, the focus of the #Traffickinghub campaign which began getting traction and widespread awareness in early 2020, is owned by a seemingly-nondescript “technology” company called MindGeek. Operating as what is known as a “porn aggregator tube site,” Pornhub is one of the most-visited pornographic websites in the world. (It also ranks as one of the most-visited…

Pornhub = #TraffickingHub superimposed over an image of a woman standing outside

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First page of "The Links Between Pornography and Sexual Violence" research document from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation
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