Online Safety Advisory: Child Rescue Coalition Finds Increase In Distribution Of Child Sexual Abuse Material In File Sharing Networks During Covid-19

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Child Rescue Coalition (CRC), a nonprofit whose mission is to rescue children from sexual abuse by building technology for law enforcement to track, arrest, and prosecute child predators, announced today they have seen an increase in child predators sharing child sexual abuse material (CSAM) in peer-to-peer file sharing networks in countries affected by COVID-19.

Graphics of CSAM sharing during pandemic

Child Rescue Coalition (CRC), a nonprofit whose mission is to rescue children from sexual abuse by building technology for law enforcement to track, arrest, and prosecute child predators, announced today they have seen an increase in child predators sharing child sexual abuse material (CSAM) in peer-to-peer file sharing networks in countries affected by COVID-19.

According to COO Glen Pounder, Child Rescue Coalition initially saw a decrease in the sharing of CSAM material in countries which had gone into lockdown. This may be attributed to predators quarantined at home with other family members, hindering their ability to access CSAM without getting caught. Another concerned raised by this decrease in online sharing could be more hands-on abuse taking place in homes during quarantine periods associated with the pandemic.

CRC expanded the research to include April and May 2020 and now the findings show an increase in the sharing of CSAM on peer-to-peer file sharing networks. This is assessed as being due to child abusers returning to their usual routine after the initial shock of COVID-19 reducing their online activity.

Pounder added that child sexual abusers are humans and their behavior often does not fit into neat and easy to classify categories.

“It is important for families to understand that online offending has different characteristics and in order to find a cure for the pandemic of sexual abuse that takes place every day it takes a village,” said Pounder. “Child Rescue Coalition works with law enforcement all over the world to put a stop to child sexual abuse material which is being shared online but the physical abuse that is also happening to children every single day in the real world.”

During this time of increased screen time for children with online school and being home due to COVID-19 quarantine rules, it is more important than ever that parents are vigilant and educated on how to keep children safe from predators online. Child Rescue Coalition has a variety of educational materials available on their website for free, including a two-contract for families and tips for safety during school closures and Summer months.

9 Internet Safety Reminders for Parents During School Closures and Summer

1. Try not to allow children to have their phones, laptops, or tablets in their bedrooms. A connection to the internet not only gives your child access to adult content, but also allows others to contact your children through video game chats, social media apps, and chat rooms. Have your kids work or play near you, and if you are working, give your child or yourself headphones!
2. Always check your children’s devices, search history, what they are posting, as well as their emails, texts and social media direct messages daily. If it’s too much work and parents don’t have time, then limit the apps your children have for you to manage.
3. Have the talk with your children about internet safety and online predators, and let them know that it’s not just stranger danger.
4. Always have social media accounts turned to private and turn off location tracking. Also, on an iPhone, make sure you set your camera to NEVER allow your child’s location to be seen. To do this go to Settings>Privacy>Location Services (ON) >Camera set to NEVER.
5. Use an app like Bark to monitor your children’s devices. Let these apps do the work for you so you can focus on your family!
6. Do not feel guilty about screen time, but DO make sure you are paying attention.
7. Be on the lookout for signs your child might be a target of a predator.
8. Sign a contract with your kids so they understand the rules of the online road during this time away from school.
9. Don’t forget to have fun with your kids and learn how to play some of their favorite games with them. When you show an interest, your kids will open up to you and be more willing to share!

Child Rescue Coalition’s CPS Technology works by monitoring peer-to-peer file sharing networks in real time. CRC’s technology indexes 30 to 50 million reports of online users trading child sexual abuse material every day. This information allows Child Rescue Coalition to expose hidden networks of abusers and report their activity. The data is provided to local law enforcement agencies to help them protect children by tracking, arresting and prosecuting child predators worldwide — often without having to put children through the trauma of testifying in court.

For more information about Child Rescue Coalition, visit http://www.childrescuecoalition.org.

About Child Rescue Coalition
Child Rescue Coalition (CRC), a south Florida-based nonprofit organization with global reach, has spent the past decade building the world’s most sophisticated technology to hunt child predators. Through proactive partnerships with law enforcement, the nonprofit’s system has tracked 54 million offenders around the world in order to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse. With a mission of protecting innocence through technology, the technology developed by CRC has aided in the arrest of more than 12,000 predators and rescued more than 2,700 abused children in the last six years. For more information, visit childrescuecoalition.org or call (561) 208-9000.

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