A recent study by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) found that up to 88% of sexually explicit photos and videos posted by teens can be uploaded to “parasite websites” where they are made public, even if the original posted content has been deleted. If teens today didn’t already have enough reason to keep inappropriate photos off of the Internet, these websites often exist primarily for the purpose of housing this kind of content.
For the purposes of its study, IWF analyzed approximately 12,000 images and videos posted online (social networks included) by teens and found that 88% of those posts were reposted elsewhere. This analysis took place over four weeks in September and further indicated that once content has been uploaded to the Internet, there is a good chance it will be there, in some form and on some site, permanently. What’s disturbing about this study is not just that these kinds of sexually explicit images essentially become public as soon as they make their way to the Internet, but that teens – despite stories in the news and consistent emphasis on the dangers of sexting – are still posting this kind of inappropriate and damaging content.
While it can be hard to control what a teen posts online once they obtain cell phones, social network profiles and general Internet access, one step parents can take to help prevent these kinds of behaviors is to use a social network monitoring service. Avira Social Network Protection analyzes inappropriate content that a child or teen – or their online friends – may post to a social network and alerts parents to potentially damaging situations in which they may want to step in and take action.
While there is still the danger that once something is posted online, it’s almost impossible to delete in its entirety, social network monitoring is a precaution parents should use to not only teach their kids the importance of maintaining a positive online reputation, but to avoid potential threats and other online risks that could be brought about by their own teens or their teens’ online friends.