Protecting our children online - are we making progress?

04/10/22, 11:00

Ten years ago the Internet Watch Foundation was given the power to remove images of children being abused and to track down the sources. How have things changed since then?

Ten years ago the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) was given the power to remove images of children being abused and to track down the sources. This was prompted by the abduction of 5-year-old April Jones. How have things changed since then?


In 2012, 13,000 web pages were removed from the internet by the IWF and last year they took down 252,000 web pages. Every web page can have thousands of images, equating to millions of online images in total.


They saw a huge rise in this crime during lockdown with eight million attempts to access child sexual abuse images in Britain in the first three weeks of the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic there were 300,000 people classified as "representing a risk to children" in Britain and last year the figure rose to 850,000.


It is hoped that the Oline Safety Bill will help. Tech companies will be  obliged to remove any sexual abuse and grooming content, facing fines of up to 10% of their global turnover if they fail in this task.


More on IWF here  

Online Safety Bill here  

More on April Jones here