Child pornography is a subject that has been a bother both to parents and the government. However, things are getting even worse by the day as the Internet and smartphones become more accessible to teens and children.
This is 2020, and no person on the surface of the earth can claim not to know what selfies are, provided they have access to smartphones and the Internet. Once the word “selfie” became the oxford dictionaries word of the year in 2013, “selfie” became a part of our lexicon.
For those who are yet to get on board, a selfie is simply a self-portrait picture taken with a smartphone camera. The availability of the Internet and smartphones with a camera has created an avenue for everyone to share their selfies and express themselves in whatever way they choose.
child pornography is illegal and a criminal offence.
Some teens and young children, already excited to own a smart device and prone to oversharing, will take countless selfies daily as they strike the trendy poses and try to show off their best angles.
With so many selfie photos flying around, there’s also a potential for exploitation of these young people via child pornography when underage nudity or sexual situations are contained in such pictures.
What exactly is Child Pornography?
Since technology and the endless world of the Internet move at an even faster speed than the law, crimes committed via social media are often prosecuted by applying existing statutes. Child pornography is defined as a depiction of any sexually explicit visual content (picture or video) involving a minor.
The sexually explicit conducts that qualify as child pornography include acts such as bestiality, intercourse, masturbation, and lascivious exhibition of the pubic area or genitals (even via selfies).
As you may already know, possession of child pornography is considered a felony under federal law and in all states. According to the federal statutes that criminalize the possession of child pornography, a ‘child’ is defined as a person 17 years or younger.
According to available staggering statistic, peer to peer (P2P) users (this refers to those who share images) are more likely to be in possession of violent images and images of very young children.
Of all the P2P users who were arrested in 2009, a whopping 33 percent had pictures of children between the ages of three or younger, and another 42 percent were in possession of images of children depicting sexual violence.
Child pornography has since become one of the fastest growing online businesses, with an estimated annual revenue of up to $3 billion. According to information from the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection, there are two ways in which child pornography is distributed.
It’s either distributed as commercial child pornography for profit or distributed as non-commercial child pornography at no charge amongst sex offenders, such as the P2P networks.
If information from the ASACP is anything to go by, then it is suspected that the US is home to the largest share of commercial child porn sites with 50 percent of the global volume.
The websites that handle the distribution of commercial child pornography provide thousands of videos and images to its users. Most of the children exploited are often pre-adolescent.
More still, some of the featured children appear to have been subjected to both physical and sexual violence. In December 2012, there was a report issued by the United States Sentencing Commission to Congress with regards to Federal Child Pornography Offenses.
This report, which is a multi-year undertaking, examined several aspects of child pornography, and this ranges from the trafficking of harmful material involving the sexual exploitation of kids to the possession, characteristics of the offender; to how offenders will be prosecuted, sentenced, incarcerated, and also supervised once they are released.
Below are only a few of the highlights:
- All forms of child pornography offenses, including the possession of such materials, are extremely serious as they mostly result in perpetual harm to the victim( the child) and also validates or normalizes the sexual exploitation of minors ( children).
- Victims of child pornography are harmed initially during the production of the videos and images, and then the perpetual nature of the distribution of such content on the Internet causes even greater harm to victims.
- All child pornography offenses are categorized as international crimes. The images and videos are transmitted across the globe to offenders who will eventually redistribute them. Once an image or video gets on the Internet, it’s virtually difficult of impossible to get rid of all copies. In other words, the harm to victims of such crimes is lifelong.
- There is a constant demand for fresh images of children by the different child porn “communities,” and this further contributes to the constant production of new photo and video material. Eventually, this leads to the sexual abuse of children.
- For some child pornography offenders, child porn is a risk factor for other forms of sex offending against children.
- Approximately one in every three offenders had been discovered to engage in one or more types of criminal and sexually dangerous behavior before their prosecutions for non-production offenses.
These are only a few of the highlights we can share. The crown of this subject is the offense that child pornography is, and how even selfies have become a tool to promote the production of child porn content.
Monitoring the pictures children take, the content they watch, people they are exposed to, and friends they keep are not even to protect them from sexual predators and child sex offenders.
Parents must do well to educate their children on ways to identify adults who may want to exploit them, and also report any uncomfortable activities.
Child porn may not be possible to eradicate immediately, considering a large the child porn community is and how many offenders may never get caught.
However, that doesn’t change the fact that it is a global problem, and people need to do their part to avoid consumption and stop the production of such content. Children must be protected and not exploited.