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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

PROGRESS! Instagram Takes Step Forward via Improved Reporting and Direct Message Tools

Instagram has made significant improvements to address the sexual exploitation and abuse that occur on its platform. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has been communicating and working with Instagram for over a year. We are grateful to report regular positive developments from this collaboration following meetings with an international campaign led by Australian Collective…

Image of a woman's hands as she uses Instagram

NCOSE Director of Public Policy Testifies in Front of Bipartisan Task Force

On October 1, 2020, Dr. Eleanor Gaetan, Director of Public Policy at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), testified in front of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence. The task force, which includes Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH), Susan Davis (D-CA), Dave Joyce (R-OH), and John Katko (R-NY), was holding a virtual roundtable…

STATEMENT – EARN IT Act Introduced in House; Will Confront Explosion of Online Child Sexual Abuse Material

Washington, DC (October 1, 2020) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) commended Representatives Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) and Ann Wagner (R-MO) for introducing the EARN IT Act in the U.S. House. The EARN IT Act will allow survivors and state attorneys general to be able to sue technology companies for facilitating child sexual abuse…

EARN IT Act Has Teeth: Only Option in Congress for Online Child Protection

There is a lot of misinformation being spread by the technology industry regarding the EARN IT Act (S. 3398 / H.R. 8454). In the face of rising levels of child sexual abuse material being distributed and consumed online, the EARN IT Act is legislation that seeks to allow U.S. citizens to hold technology companies accountable…

Protect Children by Taking Action to Support the EARN IT Act

Promoting Pornography-free Schools: The Role of the US Dept. of Education

Our children’s health and well-being affects not only them as individuals, but greatly determines the overall health and well-being of our families, our communities, our country. Among the greatest threats our youth are currently facing is exposure to harmful pornography and sexually graphic material which can greatly affect their short and long-term mental, physical, and…

Corporations in the Classroom: What are Google and EBSCO teaching our kids?

This blog was edited on 10/30/20 in the section about EBSCO for further clarity after receiving a request to do so from EBSCO’s legal counsel. Please see the letter from EBSCO and our response on our webpage about EBSCO here.  Corporations and brands shape culture, and unfortunately, their influence has permeated into our education system….

Dignity Defense Alert: Leadership of Protect Young Eyes Helps Parents and Children

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation is proud to honor Protect Young Eyes with our August 2020 Dignity Defense Alert for their leadership in protecting children online, and especially for their initiative in shepherding the EARN IT Act through the legislative process. We applaud Protect Young Eyes for their instrumental role initiating this groundbreaking legislation…

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation's August 2020 Dignity Defense Alert: Protect Young Eyes

Student Online S-A-F-E-T-Y: Is your school making the grade?

Covid has laid bare many social truths—not least how truly essential our teachers and our schools are to the health and wellbeing of our children, our families, our communities. Parents and guardians across the nation developed a deeper appreciation for the many challenges our teachers face as they were thrust into the role of teacher…

Netflix Promotes Sexualization of Children, Racist Stereotypes with New Film ‘Cuties’

Netflix, the global, mega-popular streaming service, recently came under fire for the reveal of their newest film acquisition: Cuties, a French film dedicated to the hypersexualization of young children. In the now-updated poster and movie description, 11 year old girls pose in tight, revealing outfits on a glittering stage, with one girl even posing on…

The ABCs of Safe Online Home Learning 

We get it. We’re parents too and this is not the school year beginning any of us envisioned for our children. Parents and guardians would much rather be rummaging ransacked shopping aisles for that last available three-ring binder than negotiating complex schooling decisions affecting our kids against this ever-shifting landscape. One thing is certain amidst…

The American Library Association and Its Longstanding Pornography Problem, Explained

When most of us think about our local library, we picture a safe place for students to research, senior citizens to read, and children to listen to stories read aloud by one of the librarians. It is a pleasant picture. But, as many individuals and families enjoy the benefits of their local libraries, the American…

Banner from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation's Dirty Dozen List page for the American Library Association

#TraffickingTruths: Realities of child sex trafficking!

Right now, we are experiencing a cultural moment centered on combatting the devastating and very real issue of child sex trafficking. However, despite the well-meaning intent behind much of this national discussion, many of the theories and social media posts being passed around are riddled with misconceptions that actively harm the anti-trafficking movement. For instance,…

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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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