Research on Online Safety

Study on the Effects of New Information Technologies on the Abuse and Exploitation of Children

This UNODC study is based on open source research on the issue of Online Child Abuse and Exploitation. It covers the main forms of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) facilitated child abuse and exploitation, including the creation and distribution of child sexual abuse material (child pornography); commercial sexual exploitation of children; cyber-enticement, solicitation and grooming;

cyber-bullying, cyber-harassment and cyber-stalking; as well as exposure to harmful content.The study finds that low prices for gadgets and easily available high-speed internet leads to sex offenders having unprecedented access to materials and online communities to facilitate their abusive and exploitative behavior. Through the internet, online predators gain easier access to a large number of children using chat rooms, emails, online games and social networking sites. The nature of cyberspace environment also enables predators and organized crime networks to avoid detection.

The study finds that one of the greatest gaps in fighting online child abuse is the lack of skilled and dedicated personnel among law enforcement agencies in key investigative areas. It highlights the need to develop networks to facilitate cooperation across jurisdictions and borders. Standard protocols for supporting victims through the investigative process, as well as appropriate techniques for interviewing young victims and collecting and preserving victim-related evidence need to be developed.

The study notes that the private sector must play a central role in the prevention of such crimes. Self-regulation by internet service providers, self-monitoring by travel and tourism companies and the creation of financial and technology coalitions or coordination groups are some of suggested areas for improvement. Prevention efforts involving parents, teachers, communities and civil society groups are also key. Click here to Read More.