Children targeted with graphic content hours after joining social media

Children are being targeted with graphic online content sometimes within hours of setting up social media accounts, a report has revealed.

Researchers created avatars based on information from real teenagers aged 13 to 17, including who they follow and what posts they like.

But despite their age, it wasn’t long before the fake profiles were receiving an array of inappropriate material.

“We saw a lot of very graphic self-harm imagery, images of razors, of cuts,” said Abi Perry, a 24-year-old researcher at Revealing Reality, which carried out the work.

“They were able to see content that was promoting diets to them and saw a lot of very sexualised images.

“We were able to search porn, for example, and click through to content that showed explicit images.”

Many of the avatars were contacted by unknown adults just hours after signing up.

 

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