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Children can report nude photos of themselves online via new tool

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Under-18s worried that nude pictures and videos may end up online can now report the material using a new tool to stop it being uploaded in future.

Young people can flag such content with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) charity via a tool on the NSPCC’s Childline website before they have appeared online.

The Report Remove Tool has been described by the IWF as a “world first”.

IWF analysts will then review the content and create a unique digital fingerprint known as a hash, before sharing it with tech companies to help prevent it from being uploaded and shared.

Images and videos that have already appeared online can also be reported by sharing the URL, with analysts then assessing the material and working to remove it if it breaks the law.

Young people must verify their age but can remain anonymous with Childline or the IWF – and anyone who makes a report should receive feedback on the outcome in one working day.

Reports of self-generated images more than doubled in the first three months of this year, compared with the same period last year, according to the IWF.

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A young person may have shared a sexual image with a partner that is later shared without their consent, while others may have been groomed or blackmailed online.

IWF chief executive Susie Hargreaves claims the tool will help give young people back control.

She said: “Once those images are out there, it can be an incredibly lonely place for victims, and it can seem hopeless. It can also be frightening, not knowing who may have access to these images.

“This tool is a world first. It will give young people the power, and the confidence, to reclaim these images and make sure they do not fall into the wrong hands online.”

Cormac Nolan, service head of Childline Online, said young people do not have to cope alone if they find a nude image has been posted of them online.

He said: “The impact of having a nude image shared on the internet cannot be underestimated and for many young people, it can leave them feeling extremely worried and unsure on what to do or who to turn to for support.

“That’s why Childline and the IWF have developed Report Remove to provide young people a simple, safe tool that they can use to try and help them regain control over what is happening and get this content erased.”

For support, children can contact a trained Childline counsellor on 0800 1111 or via 1-2-1 chat on the Childline website.