Almost 9 in 10 Sexted or Emailed Youth Photos Turn Up as Porn

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Oct. 23 2012 4:04 PM

Study: 9 in 10 Teen Porn Images Lifted From Kids’ Online Postings

A cautionary tale for teens who share sexually suggestive and explicit photos:  a new study says there’s a very good chance that those images will find their way into the wrong hands online.

Researchers from the Internet Watch Foundation analyzed 12,224 graphic images and videos posted over a four-week period on dozens of sites, and found that 10,776 had been lifted without permission by “parasite porn sites." The study notes that any digital image—including ones in texts and emails—immediately becomes vulnerable to theft once it’s shared.*

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Victims cited in the research said they were devastated to find private photos posted online, and even more so when they realized there was nothing they could do. As the foundation’s CEO put it, “We need young people to realize that once an image or a video has gone online, they may never be able to remove it entirely.”

*Correction, Nov 1, 2012: An earlier version of this post mischaracterized the methodology of the study as evaluating the percentage of images posted by teens that end up on pron sites. The post has been revised to more accurately reflect how the study worked.