Exposure to sexual harm and explicit images a 'normal part' of life for children

Children and young people are coming to accept that exposure to online sexual harm and receiving and being asked for explicit images is now a part of everyday life, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has warned. Pete Henshaw takes a look

“I don’t think my dad realises how many messages from random boys I get or how many dick pics I get. And I have to deal with it every day – it’s kind of like a normal thing for girls now.” Female pupil, aged 14.

Many children now accept the risk of being exposed to sexual harm as a “normal part” of being online – with girls particularly accustomed to receiving explicit images.

The disturbing finding comes in new research published as part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

It highlights the danger of an online “approval culture” – exacerbated by celebrities and the media – which can encourage young people to ignore privacy settings in order to increase their audience.

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