This probably isn’t one of the things we should be doing to our society – making childhood illegal. But that does seem to be what we’re doing with some of our laws – see this about child selfies and paedophilia.
Almost one in three reported child abuse images are now taken by the children themselves, new figures from the Internet Watch Foundation show.
Children are increasingly filming or photographing themselves in explicit situations and sharing the footage, which then ends up on adult pornography sites or shared by paedophiles, the foundation’s annual report found.
The report shows that there were 78,589 confirmed child sexual abuse URLs found in 2017, up from 57,335 in 2016.
A growing number of images discovered by the foundation’s staff were those which children had taken themselves as photos or via livestreaming apps.
There’re two issues here. One purely linguistic – 13 years olds are not producing material for paedophiles but for ephebophiles. In most historical human societies this wasn’t a child but a young adult – it was often around the marriage age. But, you know, modern times.
However, what’s really wrong here is that what is described as images of sexual abuse of children can – indeed will be at times – simply a 13 year old without a shirt on. There are actually convictions of 17 year olds for sending a topless picture to their own boyfriend – one who has seen and grasped the Real Things often enough.
That is, we’ve got our definition of sexual images of children wrong. And that is a problem – because taking selfies now is just part and parcel of learning how to use society’s tools – you know, childhood – and jugging someone for taking a selfie of cousins skinny dipping isn’t really quite what we mean by wiping out child porn.