Once we post an image or a video of ourselves on the Internet we can almost immediately lose control over it. That’s why experts warn users, especially teenagers, to be careful with the content they publish on the Web as it may turn to haunt them sooner or later.
The advisory, made by Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), follows the incident in which the now-infamous Amanda Todd committed suicide because of some embarrassing photographs she posted online a few years ago.
Ever since the media picked up the news, online safety and security solutions providers have rushed to issue advisories
to warn youths about the dangers that lurk in cyber space.
During an investigation, the IWF identified a number of 12,000 self-generated explicit pictures and videos spread across 68 websites, all in less than 48 hours.
Even more worrying is the fact that 88% of the images have been published on “parasite websites.” These are the sites where content from other sources is gathered.
Basically, it means that, in most cases, those who took the pictures or made the movies lost control of them as soon as they were picked up by the third-party website.
Experts found several posts in which young people raised concerns because of photographs or videos of them that ended up online. In some cases, the files were posted by them and forgotten, while in others they were stolen.
“This research gives an unsettling indication of the number of images and videos on the internet featuring young people performing [expletive] explicit acts or posing,” Susie Hargreaves, CEO of the Internet Watch Foundation, explained
“It also highlights the problem of control of these images - once an image has been copied onto a parasite website, it will no longer suffice to simply remove the image from the online account. We need young people to realize that once an image or a video has gone online, they may never be able to remove it entirely.”