Thorn is an NGO founded in 2012 to study the impact of technology on facilitating trafficking in human beings and the sexual exploitation of children. Formerly known as the DNA Foundation, Thorn released a new report this week. This study shows that 40% of children under the age of 13 have an account on one or more social networks.
As a reminder, all major social networks require their users to be at least 13 years old to register, including TikTok. This applies to Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram or even Twitter, for example. By focusing on their age, these children have access to a platform identical to that of teenagers and even adults. According to the study carried out by Thorn, this situation can be particularly dangerous.
Blocking is good, reporting and talking about it is even better
Almost a third of these children say they have had sexual interactions through these social platforms. In particular, these interactions can lead to requests for nude photos. Thorn explains in his report that the platforms hardest hit by these dirty interactions are Instagram and Snapchat. According to the results of the study, 16% of minors on these social networks report having had sexual interactions that lead to messages, photos and all other means.
If you are under 13, and even under 18, it can be especially difficult to know how to react in such situations. The study found that affected children would block the user twice as often instead of telling their parents. Less than half the time, children are considering reporting the user and less than 30% have spoken to their parents.
66% of the time, the malicious user is simply blocked with no reporting. This means that he can easily switch targets to meet new victims.