Child Abuse Images Top Concern For UK Internet Users

14/08/2014 16:48 | Updated 22 May 2015
Stumbling across child abuse images is top concern for UK web users

A survey has found that web users in the UK are more concerned about child abuse images than any other potentially harmful or illegal content.

The research, which was undertaken by the Internet Watch Foundation, revealed that 83 per cent of the 2,058 people surveyed were worried about child abuse websites, 73 per cent by terrorist material and 68 per cent by violent pornography.

The poll also flagged up concern about online hate or suicide material, and websites which encouraged eating disorders.

The IWF said not enough people are aware of how to report such content. Its chief executive Susie Hargreaves told the BBC that people needed to be prevented from 'stumbling' across harmful content, and that other countries needed assistance in 'creating a hostile environment for hosting it'.

Researchers spoke to 991 males and 1,067 females for the survey, and found that four per cent of men and two per cent of women said they had come across images of child sexual abuse while browsing online.

Ninety one per cent of the respondents agreed that sites featuring such images should be taken down from the internet, but 40 per cent said they did not know how to report their concerns.

In total, 28 per cent of the people surveyed said they would report undesirable websites to police, with seven per cent saying they would alert their internet service provider.

However, a total of 16 per cent of males and nine per cent of women said they would take no action.

Susie Hargreaves said there was 'clear public concern over the availability of images and videos of children being sexually abused on the internet' but that not enough people knew what to do about it.

The IWF's annual report states that 73 UK web pages hosting child sexual abuse images or videos were logged in 2012, compared with 9,477 hosted in other countries. More than half of the sites were taken down within an hour of the IWF notifying the host company or ISP.

The IWF was set up by the Government, police and internet service providers in 1996 and has a UK hotline to report criminal content online.

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